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GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | Seattle

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | New York

Tiger Woods | The human brand

$12 Billion gone and running. What next, for Tiger Woods?

“He is something supernatural.”
Tom Watson

I’ve been fascinated by the dynamics of leadership. What happens in the center, emanates. The longest shadow falls from the top. Extraordinary organizations, as the rules of management imply, are truly just that: organisms. They are ecosystems. There are relationships and there are interrelationships, they are systemic organisms.

“I told him, ‘I promise you one thing: You’ll never meet another person as tough as you.’ He hasn’t. And he won’t.”
Earl Woods

That fascination comes from two points of analyses and revelation. One, being a leader for decades has taught me a great deal about the dimensionality of leadership, as well as the inherent circumstances of authentic character. I know about that in a good way, with leading many, over time — both to the winning and the losing. And in much of that — the DNA of Tim Girvin — can be found in the character of Girvin, the firm. I imply nothing more to my leadership other than simply: experience. The central point of compelling magnetism to leadership is literally what drives that person — or, for that matter — the team that represents the character of the leader. What tonal quality exemplifies the spiritual values in action of leading figure? What I might suggest, in the intimation of “spirit”, is force. Spirit, to inspiration, is breath, evinced from an ancient word that might even be conjoined with soul and life force.

“Golf, as we know it, is over. It came to an end on a chamber-of-commerce Sunday evening in Las Vegas when Tiger Woods went for the upgrade: He’s not just a promising young Tour pro anymore, he’s an era.”
Gary Van Sickle, Sports Illustrated (10/14/96)

Great organizations can always be lead back to the elements that define the personality of the leader and the team that is managed by that persona. How might I apply these strategic emanations to myself? Curiosity. Compulsive pursuit of what lies beneath. A willingness to create success and opportunity for others. And winning, rightfully, the potential creative challenge in possibility. That idea of possibility, of course, really speaks to the notion — for me, at the least — of what lies not only beneath, but what is beyond. I am far less fascinated by the production of continuous “stuff” and more about the specific uniqueness of the experience. We have, I have, many relationships that have lasted, literally, the breadth of my career. Others that are just starting, but it is the perpetual search for the newly meaning-full that ignites a sense of passion in the work that I, and my teams, do at Girvin. We’re not looking for the same -old repetitive continuation of successful “creative opportunities” alone, but what’s new — what new discovery — that might be gathered and explored? The legacy of the firm isn’t about years and years of doing the continuously familiar, but a willingness to constantly seek out the unfamiliar.

“What’s a good tournament for him? Winning it. He’s good enough.”
Greg Norman

This notation of ringing and rippling, from one passion, is the very nature of the human branding — even celebrity branding — relationships that we are engaged in. Working on brands is never about the product alone; it’s about people. What human created the brand, who are they, what’s their story — their essential driving characteristics — and finally, what service do they provide for other humans. Obvious. But it’s curious, in my experience, how many times we are called into play, as consultants, in support of organizations that have lost sight of these two ends of the equation. What, as a team in connection with leadership, do we stand for? And what, in connection with the evocation of our leadership options, is our relationship to community? Who are we? And who are we serving?

A good question.

“He came out into this golf world under a tremendous amount of expectation and pressure and performed. And has performed at the highest level every single time he’s come out. He’s proved himself human, where he can make a double bogey, like everybody else can, and he’ll recover from that. And I think he wants to win. And winning is his objective every time he turns out.”
Jack Nicklaus, (5/27/97)

The human brand, what is the story there? Our explorations to the nature of the human brand.

“In many years of coaching, he is the most focused in terms of the important aspects of his life and his goals. He is a giver, not a getter, and a product of two amazing parents.”
Wally Goodwin, Stanford golf coach

And, to relationships, examinations of the power of the notation of brand leadership, passion and the rippling power of vision in teaming:
Technologist and philanthropist Scott Oki
Beauty master Shu Uemura
Photographer, author and TV host Art Wolfe
Apple founder and inspirator Steve Jobs
Actor and director Clint Eastwood
Designer Karl Lagerfeld
Editor-in-Chief and athletic visionary Marta Montenegro
Designer and craft aesthetician Jack Lenor Larsen

“Like all great champions, Tiger has the ability to raise his game when he has to. He’s not going to burn out because he plays for his own joy and passion.”
Jay Brunza, Woods’ sports psychologist

All of these meditations have a story, a plan, a vision, a passion, a commitment. You might put that selfsame theory to Mr. Woods, who’s said, too, to be a human brand — one of extraordinary value to a number of invested aligned brands. They’re aligned — or were alliant — presuming a strategic resonance. That vibration is gone. It’s been a skyrocketing legacy, over the course of his career, which many might say now — even intoned by Mr. Woods himself — is formally “retired”. But that retirement is one of relinquishment during a phase that many might have suggested could be the high point of his career. But nadir, or zenith, it’s a time of profound change and perhaps a darkening evanescence. Sad story, it is. And one that, for a time being, was a high point in just about every social network, television talk show and media trending commentary there is.

“He can shift to grind gear any time he wants. Like today, he was on cruise control. He was not on fire. Not on his A-game, going out there aggressive and trying to make birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie. If he had been threatened, he would have switched gears and gone into his attack mode. He can do that any time he wants. It’s called talent.”
Earl Woods

And the human brand can be not only a winning ringer with the vibrations of powerful leadership, but can as well, bring that towering swing right down. Tiger Woods, to recent estimations, has devastated roughly $12 billion in stock value since his Thanksgiving car accident. This, in accordance with a review and analysis by two University of California, Davis economics professors. Their overview, by the reporting of a Huffington article, estimates that the big losers are Gatorade, Nike and Electronic Arts. Accenture “experienced no ill effects following the accident.”

In a hopeful positioning to continue to repair the damage, Woods’ sponsors have been working overtime, in a barrage of activity. over the past month as his list of alleged dalliances continued to grow and create a kind of poisonous luster to the relationship to Woods. And they’ve acted. Gatorade proclaimed it was stopping production of its Tiger Focus beverage, although apparently to their revelation, the decision was already being planned before the scandal broke. P&G’s Gillette said it would be forced to a similar diminution of relationship, tactfully announcing it would “limit [Woods’] role in our marketing programs” earlier in the month.

“When Tiger was 6 months old, he would sit in our garage, watching me hit balls into a net. He had been assimilating his golf swing. When he got out of the high chair, he had a golf swing.”
Earl Woods

Tiger Woods | The human brand

And Accenture dropped Woods as the scandal widened — and quickly advised its global employees of its strategy, removing all emblematic “leadership” positioning posters from its offices. A more quietly observant watchmaker, Tag Heuer, initially indicated that it would downsize Woods’ role in the company’s advertising. Since that time, however, there’s been a change in strategy there — with Tiger’s visage being prominently displayed on its web site: “TAG HEUER stands with TIGER WOODS.” If they’re standing with him, then what for? Speaking of curious journalistic sentiments, you can find an overview of the damage on Huffington’s overview, with each of the “mistresses”, from Playboy model, Loredana Jolie to the “cougar” Theresa Rogers — following this opening sequence, there’s a listing of a grouping of other offerings, from text messages, pictures, and more pictures, voicemail, text messages and “storied clients” of the attorney representing one of the “women.”

“That’s Tiger’s biggest strength — he can play in Jack’s style, waiting for his chances, and he can play in my style, attacking all the time. That’s some combination.”
Arnold Palmer

I’m curious about how these alliances might be positioned in the opening pronouncements of association — then, and now. Capturing Accenture’s triumphant opening, and the initial posit.

Accenture Selects Tiger Woods To Launch High Performance Business Strategy
Tiger Woods | The human brand Related Assets
October 03, 2003
“Go on. Be a Tiger.” Campaign Is Golf Icon’s First B-to-B Endorsement
NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2003 –Accenture (NYSE: ACN) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Tiger Woods to represent the company as a symbol of its new High Performance Business strategy.
The multi-year agreement, Woods’ first business-to-business endorsement, also designates Accenture as the exclusive management consulting and technology services partner of both Tiger Woods and the Tiger Woods Foundation. In addition, Accenture will advise The Tiger Woods Learning Center on technology support including the TWLC eLearning system.
Accenture’s new High Performance Business strategy is being launched through a global integrated marketing program, including an advertising campaign starting today with Woods and the theme line, “Go on. Be a Tiger.”

And the aftermath, in conclusion.

Accenture Sponsorship Update
Tiger Woods | The human brand Related Assets
December 13, 2009
NEW YORK; Dec. 13, 2009 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today announced that it will not continue its sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods.

For the past six years, Accenture and Tiger Woods have had a very successful sponsorship arrangement and his achievements on the golf course have been a powerful metaphor for business success in Accenture’s advertising. However, given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising. Accenture said that it wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family.

Accenture will continue to leverage its “High Performance Business” strategy and “High Performance Delivered” positioning in the marketplace. The company will immediately transition to a new advertising campaign, with a major effort scheduled to launch later in 2010.

But what’s the point of this overview? The point is the truth. What’s the point of authentic response? Hopefully, that intonation of truth — now, after the fact — might help the case of his repositioning.

“Tiger sees things differently. He sees the line — not just of his putts, on all his shots — more clearly. I’d like to know how he does it. I know this: The next time he’s standing over a 45-footer, I’ll be expecting him to make it.”
Ernie Els, after losing the Mercedes Championships to Tiger when Tiger made a 45-foot putt.

The challenge, that might be offered — or argued — is that the reliance on the human, as the brand, is a two edged sword. One, the blade cuts to brilliant glinting light — and the other — a darker revelation of the inverse. But that’s the human way. People are simply that, human — and with a leader, regardless of the degree of representation — there are the good sides and the less than good.

“One thing people forget is that Tiger is a dedicated player. When you are the most talented and the strongest and the most dedicated, it doesn’t surprise me what he’s done.”
Lee Trevino

Tiger Woods | The human brand

Tiger Wood’s positioning is about a request for forgiveness. And a time to recollect, literally, his family. Given the legacy of truth and the legitimacy of forward action, there are payoffs. One might point to others that have won with the truth; and this is perhaps the time for Tiger Woods to come out of his variation on point, on path, to something newer, better, refreshed and clarified.
“I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but I want to do my best to try.

“I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation,business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What’s most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.”

“After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

“Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.”

“Tiger has the ability to make people feel uncomfortable, but not because he’s not a nice guy. That’s the mark of a truly phenomenal player. You can just feel he’s better than you, and he knows he’s better than you. That just widens the gap, though he doesn’t say anything.”
Johnny Miller

Surely his heritage would point to this capacity — and while there are plenty of naysayers in the American market, these sentiments are necessarily shared by the rest of the world. Others, abroad, even fain surprise at the departure of his brands. And if others, like the similarly bedeviled, yet criminal positioning of other wayward athletes, then surely Woods has a chance to right his positioning. And to consider the next step of the story.

To the light of the coming year, here’s hoping for luminescence on all fronts.

TSG
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