I had a weird dream last night that I (and my co-workers were working with Tiger Woods to help guide him through his scandal. It was the day of his big, highly publicized public statement. The difference here, though, is he was making this statement in a large, arena-like setting; almost like a big concert or something.
Perhaps the dream is reflecting the circus-like atmosphere around this entire situation (the circus of the media and general public). I remember Tiger saying to me he couldn’t believe we had to go through with this. I agree. But this scandal serves as a good PR lesson: we don’t get to choose what causes public outrage, unrest or disappointment. But when it happens, you have to craft an appropriate response that lets your publics know you hear them and you will work to regain their trust.
Tiger broke the cardinal rule of crisis public relations: he lost control of the story. Perhaps he didn’t think it would blow up. Perhaps he didn’t listen to his PR people. Either way, he lost control. And his carefully orchestrated public statement a few weeks ago did very little to quell the story.
I still think his first post-scandal public appearance should’ve been a one-on-one with Oprah, or 20/20, or some such avenue. While celebrities relinquish their privacy and sometimes (like Tiger) pay a huge price for their transgressions, they also enjoy the ability to rebuild their images via the most influential people in pop culture. But Tiger screwed up by not showing a little more vulnerability. There’s a lesson to be learned there.
Just a minor rumination on a Friday morning.