Tiger Woods, Reputation and Corporate Sponsorship

Last Updated Dec 3, 2009 5:13 AM EST

Tiger Woods is facing a challenge he doesn't often have to handle -- avoiding the gaze of the media. Since the story broke about the mysterious car crash outside his own home, he's been tight-lipped about the whole affair - only emerging to issue a statement of apology for his behaviour.

Well he might be, considering the amount of money he commands from endorsement deals like Gillette and Accenture, which curious stories about dodgy driving can't do anything but endanger.

Woods is, let's face it, one of the lower-key sportsmen endorsing products. I'd guess he's been chosen by these companies to be their public face because he is just that -- a steady, dependable guy who wins every time. When his wife starts destroying his car with one of the tools of his trade (to rescue him) Woods looks less like that.

It will be interesting to see, now that a part of Woods' personal life is out in public, whether it will affect existing deals -- or attract new ones.

So far, his sponsors have publicly stood by him, but it's a lesson for people who set themselves up as the human face of a corporate organisation. They have to sacrifice some of their personal life to align themselves with the business, if they want the endorsement fees to keep rolling in, just as much as the business gets to align itself with them.

Of course, it may be that brand managers at Gillette and Accenture have been pleased their man has been in the headlines so much, by implication raising awareness of their companies -- but probably not.

For a visualisation of the conversation Woods' sponsors might be having, check out this post.

(Pic: First Daffodils cc2.0)