Tiger Woods and his PR mistakes over the last couple months…

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Found on www.topnews.in/sports/‘tiger-woods’-hooke...

Over the last couple months, one of the most admiring athletes in America, Tiger Woods, took a big fall with all of his cheating controversies. He went from being the most popular in the golfing world, to the most popular in the news and tabloids. The real question, is where did he go wrong? Obviously for starters, the affairs, the lying started it, but where did he go wrong in the recovery process, once the cheating was admitted.

Matthew Phillips from Newsweek wrote an article yesterday named, “The six biggest Public Relations blunders Tiger has made so far.” After reading through this article, i really began to understand how important PR is and how important it can be. A big part of PR is image, and Tiger sure has not done a great job at maintaining that. The six biggest blunders that Phillips mentioned were:

1. Deafening silence early and often
2. Refusal to meet with police in the first few days
3. Castigating the media
4. Refusing to go into details about what happened that night
5. March 21st interviews with the Golf Channel and ESPN
6. Should have played in a tournament before The Masters

As you can see, each one of these things has to do with his image, the first one, he is keeping things silent, not talking about them, which brought up speculation as to why he wasn’t talking, they wanted to hear from the person they looked up to, and he wasn’t talking. The second point, refusing to meet with the police, many looked at this as he was hiding something if he was refusing to talk to him, meaning he was lying, which ultimately leads to the lessening of his credibility. The third point, him punishing the media. This in a sense speaks for itself, he is punishing the media for trying to better understand what is going on, because he chooses to keep these things private, when that is nearly impossible, because the other women have made it public. The fourth point is that he is refusing to go into any details about what happened that night. If he wasn’t hiding something, and trying to save himself, he would talk about it, most people would. The fifth point is him doing the March 21st interviews with the Golf Channel and ESPN. He wasn’t very prepared for them and didn’t talk or say much in them, and the questions that were asked really didn’t have much of a connection with the scandal. And lastly, the sixth point, he should have played his first match somewhere other than, and before the Masters. The Masters is already one of the most watched sporting events, and now, with this being Tigers return, it will be crazier than ever.

So as you can see, Tiger isn’t doing so well in the PR world right now, he has made a few mistakes, to say the least. All of these things that Phillips has pointed out, has in one way or another affected the way people look at him. With image being such an important part of public relations and its what we as PR professionals work with, that it seems to me that Tiger is still on his downward slope, and if these types of things continue, he may never surface in a positive light.

Below is a quote from a PR Blog stating the important role of Public relations, and it emphasizes the importance of image.

“As public image is important to all agencies and famous personalities the role of public relations specialist gets to be pertinent in crisis scenarios. Public relations agencies offer essential and well-timed transmission of information that assists save the face of the organization.”

I know that many of us, as we work on our group campaigns are working with the image of our clients, and trying to improve them. So we can begin to understand how important Tiger Woods’s personal PR is, because of his name and achievements, so can you just imagine, if a scandal happened with your client, and a similar situation arose, where the client made similar PR mistakes, what would you do to try and improve the image of that client?

What do you think? Do you think that Tiger has made some mistakes when it comes to his personal PR? Do you think that he can recover from this? or do you think that he is too far in the hole? What could he do to help give himself a better PR image after all the damage that has been done?
Also, what do you think about Phillips’s points, do you think they are accurate? Why?

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4 Responses to Tiger Woods and his PR mistakes over the last couple months…

  1. dolson says:

    First off, I want to say that Tiger Woods is a private citizen and what he does is his own business. He’s famous for golf and that should be all he’s known for. I don’t approve or participate in the culture of celebrity. If Tiger wants to bed trashy women on the side, I don’t care. He deserves his present state of affairs, though. Cheating is just bad karma.

    Now then. Absolutely Tiger screwed up. He went on the defensive from the beginning, and this is a losing strategy. Had he acted sooner, said more, done it all publicly, and showed more finesse with the media, perhaps Tiger would be in a better spot now. He deserves the criticism and mockery regardless, although perhaps a sincere apology right away might have earned him more sympathy.

    I expect a wealthy public figure like Tiger Woods can afford an excellent PR team, and so I believe he chose to ignore their advice and went his own way. Like the man who hires himself as his own attorney, his ignorance hurts more than helps. As a celebrity, Tiger will return to the public’s good graces; it’s inevitable with the culture of celebrity. It’s only a matter of time until the public forgets and moves on to the next scandal. What Tiger really needs now is patience.

  2. kmcnally says:

    I agree with you. It is his own business, but when you choose to live in the lime light, like he has, you have to be more cautious about the things you do if you don’t want something to blow up like this. I think that he should have been more careful about what he did, and who knew about it, because he could have avoided a lot of unnecessary things, but he chose another route.

  3. cmcelroy says:

    There is no question that Tiger has made HUGE PR mistakes. I understand the argument that he deserves privacy and what he does is his business, but when you make a decision to become a public figure, and furthermore to market yourself as a role model whose entire image hinges on the archetypal ‘family man,’ then you better be ready to take the heat if you do something silly.

    But back to PR–I thought one of his biggest mistakes was number five on this list–his first “press conference” after the incident. I remember hearing about it, and being intrigued and curious as to how he would respond to difficult questions. Then I find out that it’s not so much a press conference, as it is a pow-wow with his nearest and dearest as well as some supportive press. On top of that, he’s not even going to take questions–just read a prepared statement. What?? I couldn’t believe that after all the scandal, he/his team thought this would be the best way to calm the situation. I remember discussing this in my sports marketing class. My professor argued, and I whole-heartedly agree, that if Tiger wanted to put the incident behind him, he was going to have to sit in front of the press and answer every last question they had for him. Sit there until the press, and the public is bored with you. Instead, he gave a statement that did little to stop the momentum the tabloids had, and kept him in the exact same position.

    That being said, I do think that eventually he’ll be able to get over this. I think the best thing he can do now is just try to fly under the radar, and hope for a worse scandal to erupt. People love the redemptive story arc. If he can find a way to appeal to that, he’ll do just fine.

  4. kmcnally says:

    I completely agree with you. I think that in order for things to get cleared up in the controversy, he needs to just face the music and answer every question that anyone has for him, because if he continues to put it off and avoid things, it is just going to get worse for him. And he doesn’t need that. I was watching the Masters yesterday and they interview him after, he wasn’t very talkative, all he could say was he is planning on taking some time off of golf again and figuring things out. And to me, i think that he needs to just face the music and deal with it head on so that things start to get cleared up, otherwise, they are just going to continue building up and it will end up being worse.

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