Thursday, April 08, 2010

Nike -- Tiger Woods -- The Masters Risk

Nike (NKE) stood by Tiger Woods when a lot weaker brands ran for the hills. Today Tiger plays the first round of “The Masters” and goes for the “Green Jacket”. What is between Tiger and his wife is their business. But many will take cheap shots at Tiger just for the hell of it. Some may even be conjuring up blackmail and other black op’s. So what has Nike done to protect it’s investment in Tiger.

When your brand is this closely aligned with a personality and you do not drop him under the circumstances you need to ensure there is no possible repeat and you need to ensure no one else manufactures an unfortunate circumstance. This is not something that marketers normally handle. This is something that damage control Public Relations specialists need to orchestrate.

Of course much of this is quiet behind the scenes preparations which we will never learn about. The only time something comes to the surface is when a problem comes up and the media glare lays it bare to the world. By then Nike will be a failure in brand management.

Nike made a bet on an excellent athlete and perhaps the best golfer known to the sport. They backed him because he has undisputed credentials in golf. Has Nike protected themselves and their shareholders? Should Nike get in this deep with an athlete? What happened to diversification? The cost of failure will be very high.

Disclosure: No position in this stock