Another Tiger With A Great Bounce(Back)
Like the beloved A. A. Milne character, Tiger Woods and more specifically his brand, has shown an incredible resiliency in bouncing back from the personal drama that unfolded just a couple of short years ago.
Upon what do I base this assessment?
In a recent Forbes article (Tiger Woods Delivered $6 Million More For Sponsors Than Rory McIlroy In 2012), Kurt Badenhausen reported that “when it comes to exposure, Woods is still the most dominant brand in the sport, delivering nearly 50% more airtime for sponsors than McIlroy in 2012.” For those who follow golf, Rory McIlroy led the PGA and European Tours in prize money in 2012 chalking up five tournament victories in the process. Suffice to say his performance on the course has firmly entrenched him as the No. 1 golfer in the official world rankings.
However, and despite McIlroy’s incredible success on the fairways and greens, Woods continues to dominate the brand game. Woods’ dominance off the course takes on even greater importance when you consider the fact that the average golf fan earns in excess of $100,000 annually, of which the majority (78%) indicate that they seriously consider a sponsoring company’s brand when making a purchase. In short, if you are a Tiger fan, then you are more likely to purchase the product associated with the logo that adorns his hat, shirts, clubs and anything else that can showcase a company’s mark.
So how did this happen? How did Tiger actually bounce back?
Well first off, let’s not equate Woods’ success in the branding game as an indication that he has indeed been forgiven or that his infidelities have been forgotten by the public. According to Northwestern University Professor William White, this may actually be a factor that works in the golfer’s favor. Specifically, some of the “fan base” may actually be following Woods not so much as a result of his “redemptive journey,” but more out of an interest to see if and when another chink in his amour may appear.
There is no doubt that America loves to have its heroes punished for their sins, only to rise from the trash to prove that they have now been transformed into better human beings (which would explain Martha Stewart’s return to favor). However, one thing is certain commented White, there is often times little difference between good and bad publicity.
Let’s face it, Tiger Woods is still handsome, consistently good on the course and in the end, America either loves or loves to hate its heroes – sometimes both at the same time.
For me personally, while I admire his talent, I can’t help but question his character. Yet by writing about him I am, along with everyone in the media and within the realms of the social networking world, making Tiger Woods’ brand even stronger.
In this light perhaps he didn’t bounce back so much as he weathered the storm.