The following report examines how Tiger Woods’ functional and reputational core competencies have affected his professional life, specifically relating to his financial status as a marketing tool for golf companies. Prior to his 2009 scandal, Tiger Woods was ranked #1 in the world, one of the highest grossing athletes, and one of the leaders earning multiple lucrative endorsement deals. He made millions leverage his two major core competencies: functional (professional athleticism-based) and reputational (image-based). Functionally Tiger was one of the greatest golfers in the history of golf as a sport. Reputational-wise, Tiger was perceived as a positive role model demonstrating strong and confident manhood and masculinity. He was the best and represented the best. After his scandal in 2009, Tiger’s reputation endured a drastic decline amongst his fans, sports enthusiasts, and society overall. His personal brand was damaged and needs to be strategically repositioned in order for Tiger to earn back his financial revenues comparable to the amount he earned from his endorsement deals prior to his fall from grace in 2009.
The most strategic decision to help improve Tiger’s reputation is to use Tiger himself. Tiger as an athlete is his most valuable asset as it relates to potential collaborators and customers. Trying to approach repositioning Tiger from a more functional standpoint will be successful as Tiger wins more golf tournaments. Leveraging his athletic ability will in turn help increase his favorability and better manage external relations because new endorsement relationships have the potential to be established. Currently Tiger’s endorsement deals range from commercial to brand name products, but the common thread throughout all of his deals is they promote Tiger from a value-added point of view: as Tiger promotes their products, the companies’ brands help promote Tiger’s athletic strengths and successes. For example Tiger is signed with the virtual video game company, Electronic Arts which produces the Tiger Woods PGA Tour game for Xbox. He also is signed with Vantelin Kowa Heat Back Rub Cream, and Fuse Science Sports Nutrition.
In contrast, many of Tiger’s former brands (Accenture, Gillette, and Tag Heuer) focused on Woods’s as a more comprehensive package of success, both in his personal and professional life. So as his personal life was publically displayed and scrutinized, these more reputational company endorsements relieved Tiger as their product endorser in a effort to distanced themselves, their products and protect their company overall. The market overall is still available for Tiger Woods as a product endorser because Tiger’s functional value is extremely high for companies desiring to capitalize on his athleticism and professional career. Potential customers will be companies that can use Tiger’s strong name to grow their product lines, and attract customers supportive of Tiger and his athleticism, even if they disagree with his choices he has made in his personal life. For example, companies that produce high-profile golf equipment and apparel would be precise matches for Tiger. There is even greater potential for endorsement profits overseas in more international markets. As Tiger continues to improve his golf game and win tournaments, his rankings will increase and he will remain as one of the most valuable name brands in golf.
Tiger’s target companies and collaborators should focus on using Tiger and his professional strengths to attract their specific customer and audience demographic. The typical golf fan enjoys spending their money limitlessly, as long as they view the object of their purchases directly adds value to some component of their lives, either directly or indirectly. Collaborators need to focus on directly supporting Tiger and his golf game, ensuring he is performing at his optimal level to result in the increased likelihood of wining more tournaments. Companies who have hired Tiger as the face of their product brands need to create a direct correlation between the intangible benefits of Tiger’s brand – credibility, customer loyalty, and dependability. Customers and the greater demographic of general golf fans will continue to recognize value and reputational quality in Tiger’s endorsements through his personal value proposition to his customers. On the more functional-side, winning is still the primary indicator of how well Tiger is accepted back into society as a whole.
One strategy is for Tiger to win for major golf championships: the Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, The Open, and the PGA Championship. Tiger still has his unique name and style also to his advantage. He is amongst many equally talented golf professionals, but few are as well-known as Tiger. The Tiger Woods brand is able to bring value to all stakeholders involved, increasing his added value from both the reputational and function stand point regarding his endorsement companies and team collaborators. Stakeholders and Woods assist each other by reciprocating the benefits of having Tiger as a strong athlete and celebrity, as well as name brand endorser. As Tiger wins more golf tournaments his success will be what attracts more potential customers and companies, in which all parties will benefit from the increased revenues which will only strengthen the Tiger Woods’ brand value even higher.