Tiger: Sad to Say

Posted on December 14, 2009. Filed under: Crisis Management, Crisis Response, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

This is a follow-up to my last blog post, Tiger Woods: A Social Media Perspective. I just watched yet another one of Tiger’s self-proclaimed ‘romantic interests’ interviewed on a national morning show, which got my Monday off to a pretty depressing start. Click on the music player to listen to an apt accompaniment, jazz saxophonist/composer Benny Golson’s poignant tune, Sad To Say.

Early on in what we now see as an ‘unraveling of the Woods brand’ his response to an emerging sex scandal appeared authentic based on his past history. It was my feeling that it would be his golf fans who would pull him out of this career ditch and that he would do well to further connect with them on social media. As he works to rehabilitate himself with his family and sponsors, this admittedly unsolicited advice could be even more significant.

Here’s why I think so. The central factor in this whole unhappy scenario is rebuilding trust. First and foremost, Tiger Woods broke trust with his wife and children through serial marital infidelity. The love of my life, Jeff Levine, is a talented and skilled psychotherapist who treats relationship issues including infidelity and sexual addiction. We’ve discussed this problem many times in the past few years as one politician or celebrity after another has offered emotional apologies, hied off to rehab or been out-and-out dumped by wronged spouses for similar behavior. I’ve learned from Jeff that overcoming the personality traits that cause people to flee from true intimacy/commitment to others and act out sexually can take many years. Sometimes the marital relationships survive and sometimes they don’t.

Business relationships can be easier to repair if monetary objectives remain aligned and public relations issues are overcome. But there’s a sense of coldness that’s emerged about Tiger Woods in all of this. From pre-nups to high-powered law firms retained to keep indiscretions out of the media to speculation about pay-offs to women for their silence, there’s a sickening quality to how Woods has used the wealth garnered through the mastery of his sport. What we wish to perceive as wholesome has somehow resulted in immoral license.

In what may be a helpful sign for the next phase of Tiger’s crisis, the Twitter stream has slowed long enough that I was able to capture a link to a post from Australian blogger Brian Giesen that presents a Nielsen Online Brand Association Mapping comparison of Brand Tiger before and after. I re-tweeted it and here it is again for all of you interested in marketing geekdom.

When I mentioned, above, who Tiger needs to rehabilitate himself with, I left out his fans. As I perused the #TigerWoods Twitter feed in the past few days, it’s the golf fans who are sticking by their man. They continue to focus on the best of him – his singular athletic ability – and to wish him well. It would be nice if he could summon some personal warmth and turn it toward them. The social Web giveth and it taketh away. It could also serve as a human laboratory for Tiger to learn how to assess, build and keep trust.

Although it’s written in a minor key, today’s tune resolves to a major, providing a hopeful sound. In addition to composer Golson on tenor sax, Art Farmer plays magnificent flugelhorn, Curtis Fuller is on trombone, Mickey Tucker on Piano, Ray Drummond on bass and Marvin “Smitty” Smith on drums. The album is titled The Jazztet – Real Time.

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Tiger Woods: A Social Media Perspective

Posted on November 30, 2009. Filed under: Crisis Response, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

https://newprwordsandmusic.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/03-ill-wind1.mp3

It’s been pretty widely trumpeted that Tiger Woods’ handling of his accident over the weekend has been lame in terms of accepted PR/crisis response best practices. Page one of the Sunday New York Times sports section proclaimed it — and so did many other media and blogs. But how can we think about his relative silence – except for yesterday’s statement on his website – in social media terms?

 Tiger Woods is known as a very private personality who seeks out media attention rarely and on his own terms as much as possible. So in a sense, his reaction to the current situation is consistent with his public persona. In other words, he’s being authentic Tiger Woods as we’ve known him.

Putting out a statement on his website is consistent with other important statements he’s made about his personal life – including his engagement to his wife. It implies that he cares most about his fans. If you read the language of the statement carefully, it appears that he sat and wrote it out himself without excessive input from handlers or minute wordsmithing by pros. Very personal.

The wisdom of this move is evident when sampling some of the thousands of comments from fans and other site visitors. The comments for the most part are hugely supportive. A commenter who gives credence to the tabloid reports fueling controversy in this incident gets slapped down by fans in subsequent posts. In their opinions, it’s the media and the police who are out of line. Tiger’s entitled to privacy and, ‘leave their man alone’!! Tiger’s core community is coming to his rescue.

However, when you get into the Twittersphere and other social venues not monopolized by fans, support is overcome by other sentiment. Negative speculation about Woods’ marital fidelity from individuals and blogs abounds. For example, one much-re-tweeted link celebrates his ‘downfall’ with schadenfreude and raises the idea that Woods’ private approach and concern for his brand are only about protecting endorsement deals.

This afternoon legal commentators on cable news have opined that there is little legal fallout that could come out of this, however the media fire storm rages on. It will likely grow for awhile, fueled further by Tiger’s doubling down on privacy and pulling out of his charity golf tournament later this week.

So what else could he do to remain true to his chosen course of public action – or inaction – that would dampen down the flames?

Hopefully Woods and his team are measuring sentiment pro and con – throughout the traditional and social media worlds. And I imagine they are working behind the scenes on his business relationships with sponsors and the brands he endorses. Should unfavorable opinion grow to a level that might shake those relationships, it seems to me that he could further acknowledge the trust he has in his fans by asking them to share with these companies what’s really important to them about Tiger. I’ll bet that the people who cared enough to post on his official website would be happy to post on a brand or product’s fan page on his behalf.

What do you think? It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out from a social media point of view.

I chose Harold Arlen’s Ill Wind (You’re blowin’ me no good) sung by the incomparable Billie Holiday as the musical companion to this post. Think it’s an appropriate theme. It runs 6:14 and I know you’ll read the post faster than that. So maybe you’ll use the extra time to post your comment – or just relax and listen for a couple of minutes. Billie is amazing and the other musicians are so superb…Harry “Sweets” Edison on trumpet, Ben Webster on tenor sax, Jimmy Rowles on piano, Barney Kessel on guitar, Joe Mondragon on bass and Alvin Stoller on drums.

Enjoy and see you soon!

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