Tiger Woods, the PR challenge.

The past week has really highlighted the inherent dangers of building a brand around real people, notably sports stars.

Frist Thierry Henry, now Tiger Woods have shown how brand icons can morph into flawed individuals.

So what’s the damage ? Well it has to come down to how it’s handled. The professionals can make all the difference and I speak as a journalist not a PR guru.  After all, with Tiger Woods, it’s not what he did or did not do , it’s the speculation that chips away at the brand. This weekend Twitter was full of wild gossip about what might have gone on. Flash-backs to OJ Simpson don’t make life any easier, although this is clearly no OJ case.

What the media crave and by extension all of us, is information. Anything from the Woods camp would help and today’s statement goes some way to fulfilling that need. Having said that, it is far from the full story and won’t quell the speculation.

Over at Thierry Henry HQ things are equally messy. As a brand icon for Gillette, (Woods is too, strangely enough !) Henry has inspired a Twitter war with PRs from a rival shaving brand. I urge you to visit http://greengathering.blogspot.com/ for the full Twitter exchange, basically it’s what happens when PRs collide !

Sports stars with their blend of skill, money and glamour will always attract advertising cash, whatever behaviour ensues. The challenge is for their handlers and PRs to develop a strategy involving all the platforms where they are being talked about, including Twitter. It seems those strategies are still in their early days.

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