It’s been close to a month since Tiger Woods’ unfortunate car crash but the media circus still lingers. We can’t just put the blame on the media though since we, as consumers of news, play a huge role in prolonging the interest in these sorts of scandals. But outside of all the hoopla surrounding his supposed lurid affairs and the hoards of women now stepping forward claiming their 15-minutes of fame (or shame, really), is there a PR lesson to be learned here?
In a world of Twitter, blogs, news aggregation sites, and well, TMZ, news travels faster than a Shinkansen. Releasing an official statement six days following his accident is really six days too late. Silence will not make the media go away and will only fuel more speculation. And it’s not even a matter of responding to every rumor; it’s about addressing the issue in a timely fashion.
Similar to companies, Tiger Woods is CEO of his own brand and the biggest responsibility centers on keeping that company’s name untarnished. Showing a strong front and putting the focus back to golf is especially crucial in this time of crisis. Being a no-show at his own golf tournament was not the soundest PR – or business strategy overall. Imagine the many business partners that he alienated and potential endorsements he lost. It was evident that the reason for not attending the event went far beyond “personal injuries.” He didn’t have to hold a press conference or address any personal questions during the tournament – just his attendance could’ve gone a long way.
Regardless of personal baggage, a CEO or spokesperson of any company needs to always conduct “business as usual.” And Tiger clearly failed this PR 101.