The Tiger Woods Brand — At Work and Growing

I am a huge fan of Tiger Woods, and that goes well beyond what he does on the golf course.  I’d be pretty happy if I could handle the typical par four like Tiger handles an interview, for example.  He’s amazing!

Many professional golfers are pretty good at giving interviews and handling press conferences, and Tiger does have the huge advantage of constant practice, the confidence of the best golfer in the world, and everything that goes along with just being Tiger Woods.  Tiger Woods would be a brand even if he didn’t know he was a brand, and he knows.

He may know better than anyone.  He obviously studied Michael Jordan and Jack Nicklaus.  I bet he has studied everyone who has ever been a brand.  He’s not only been a brand for a long time; he’s been famous for being a brand for almost as long.  And like everything else he does, he keeps getting better at it.

Hosting his own tournament at age and having it be signifcant official event is quite an accomplishment at 33.  Many of the all time greats have their own tournaments, but they were all much older.  Tiger started this several years ago, just looking and waiting for a chance to make it an official event.

Now that preparation has paid off.  The Tour needs events and sponsors for the first time in years.  They not only made his event official, but he has the Fourth of July weekend in Washington, D.C.  honoring the Armed Forces at a storied golf course under the brutal heat of the Washington summer.  And if you still aren’t thinking that Tiger is the second coming,l active miltary and kids under twelve are admitted free.  Finally, the name of the tournament is carefully crafted to maximize the way it extends the brand: The AT&T National hosted by Tiger Woods.

It is instantly the most significant event between the U.S. Open and the British Open, and it reduces all of the other events in this period to second tour events because they are automatically relegated to the second tier if Tiger doesn’t play.Tiger won’t play between the U.S. Open and his event because he’s involved in the hosting preparation,  He won’t play between this event and the British because he’s getting ready for the British.

The television ratings will demonstrate once again that there are Tiger events and golf events.  When the Tiger events are spaced out and signaled well in advance.  The size of the Tiger audience will grow and the size of the golf audience will shrink.  Professional golf will more than ever have to ride on Tiger’s coattails.

I think Tiger really likes this position.  He is obviously a person who likes being in control, and this gives him even more control.  None of this happened by accident, and none of it happened in secret.  Tiger did it all, carefully and completely, right out in the open.

Was he lucky to get the Fourth of July weekend?  Somehow, I don’t think luck had anything to do with it, but the financial crisis has made the PGA Tour that much more willing to go along with anything that Tiger wants.  They know the tournament will make them far more money than anything else they could do in that time.

He’s also nice to children without being creepy about it.  The Tiger Woods Foundation is all about helping kids to make the most of themselves.  If there is anything people like more than being helped to suceed, it is getting their children to succeed.  Tiger makes children, your children, all children, part of his brand.

Capping off the tournament, Tiger follows a wounded veteran that they are honoring down the eighteenth fairway as he marches his way to victory.  Hunter Mahan shoots a 62 in the final round, but Tiger had to beat him.  He’s still building the brand.

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