Tiger Woods: The Reputation Crisis

Tiger Woods faced a ruined reputation when it became known to the public that he was having several affairs, but he is making a comeback.

Tiger Woods and the companies which represented him went into crisis management mode to try to figure out how to fix his severely damaged reputation when the infamous sex scandal involving golf’s most popular athlete hit the news in December 2009.

According to Bill Patterson, “‘Reputation management’ is the newest buzz phrase in the public relations field and for those of us long involved in crisis management, this new phrase seems likely to stick.” Crisis management is not only about handling the “uh-ohs” of big companies but also about dealing with the “oops” of big names that everyone knows.

Tiger Woods is an interesting case in that it was not just his personal reputation as an athlete that was damaged. Woods represented many big companies through sponsorship, including Nike. Woods was the face of Nike. Many worried that Woods would take Nike’s reputation with him when Woods’ reputation began spiraling down. Nike and Woods both began working towards their own comebacks and ways to recover from the incident.

Nike, as one of Woods’ biggest sponsors, took their own steps to respond to the situation. They released a video in which Woods’ deceased father is talking to him about making mistakes. Nike used this video as a way to say that everyone makes mistakes, including Tiger Woods. Nike was concerned that their reputation could be damaged through Woods’ action since he is such a big icon in their company. Although the scandal may have slightly impacted their overall sales, many fans and consumers still stayed loyal to Nike.

Woods made a public apology in Feb. 2010, but, according to CNN’s report on the event, it was small and private with only a select few people allowed to represent the media. Many people criticized the way the apology was set up because the few reporters allowed in were not allowed to ask questions and other reporters had watch the apology half of a mile away on television.

Woods took a bold step at this event to help improve his damaged reputation by going public about the situation. He took the time to admit to the public and most importantly his fans that he had made a mistake and was working to fix it. He returned to playing golf, most likely hoping that people would again begin to associate him with the game instead of the scandal. Apple has also released a new app in its iTunes store called “Tiger Woods: My Swing” to help golf enthusiasts better their playing skills. Woods is slowly moving back into a positive light in the public’s mind because he has been working to improve the public’s opinion of him.

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