Brand strategies for redeeming the Tiger Woods brand

What should the Tiger Woods brand manager do in this situation?  Each day brings new leaks about trade secrets of the man best known for bearing the Tiger Woods brand name and likeness.

The natural impulse is to find another person to adopt the Tiger Woods brand name, likeness and visual identity.  For instance, if Vijay Singh changed his name to Tiger Woods, he might be a viable option on the golf course.   Unfortunately that strategy will not work with so much media attention concentrated on the Tiger Woods brand.

In the last post I listed the first steps for immediate responses.  This post contains a strategic framework for redemption of the Tiger Woods brand.

1. Be visible through Corporate Social Responsibility:  Elevate visibility of the Tiger Woods Foundation through events, press releases, a news conference with the Executive Director.  Brands are multi-facted complex concepts.  The more positive facets you can add, the stronger will be your brand.  That is why having a strong Corporate Social Responsibility program can mitigate the impact of a crisis on brand reputation.

In branding terms, this creates moral goodness which counter-acts moral brand avoidance.

Tiger Woods Foundation2. Elevate the brand image through Product Innovation and Performance:  Introducing a truly superior product will give people reason to rethink the Tiger Woods brand.  Redemption can be won on the fairway and green!  The brand’s reputation was earned on the golf course and that is a major source for strength of the brand in the future.  Breaking golf records will place the Tiger Woods brand into an untouchable pantheon.

To achieve this breakthrough, I recommend that the Tiger Woods brand use the advisor and Golf Expert, Dr. Joseph Parent, author of Zen Golf.  Dr. Parent has advised many pro golfers including Vijay Singh and David Toms.

Steal the spotlight!  Performance on the fairway will become another strand in the Tiger Woods brand story.  By putting this facet of the brand center stage, it will take some of the spotlight away from the other pieces of the current story.

3. Recast the narrative of brand activities and actions.  A formal presentation and plausible explanation of the Tiger Woods brand activities over the past year will act as a counter-narrative to the one being spun by media pundits, late night comedians and guys hanging around in bars. Avoid the “Sanford Strategy” developed by Governor Stanford (“I was hiking the Appalachian Trail”) — market testing has shown this strategy to be devoid of any redeeming value.

By recasting the explanation of  Tiger Woods brand activities to larger societal issues, the Tiger Woods brand can achieve greater personal relevance.  I recommend exploring ways to cast the narrative through the lens of the economic pressures sweeping through this country .  This economic crisis has wrecked havoc in many families, ruining the lives of many decent people.  If possible, show how investments into the great fraud of Bernie Madoff pushed the Tiger Woods brand to the brink of financial disaster. The Tiger Woods brand is just another casualty of the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.

A few last notes on this topic before moving on to other marketing matters:

Last night at dinner with 3 friends — all incredible branding experts — there was much professional discussion on how to redeem the Tiger Woods brand.  Here is a sample of ideas generated:  Have the brand live for six months in a rural Ugandan village teaching AIDS orphans how to read.  Arrange a quick second “marriage” of the Tiger Woods brand to the Oprah brand.  Demonstrations of public remorse on 60 Minutes and the Daily Show.  The point being that there are many tactics and executional programs that the Tiger Woods brand can adopt in face of this crisis.

A final note: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes has publicly denied rumors that the image of Tony the Tiger has been affected by the Tiger Woods brand crisis.  Tony the Tiger will remain the a visible, strong and vibrant element of their communications.

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