Everyone it seems has an opinion on Tiger Woods’ situation; how it should have been handled and how his PR team let him down by not insisting that he make a public statement within the first 24 hours after the accident (the standard time frame for crisis response according to most PR professionals).
While Tiger’s response (or rather lack thereof) was hotly debated in the media, it was also a major topic of conversations in Journalism / Public Relations classrooms around the country. In an effort to teach students how NOT to handle crisis communications, professors consistently reinforced the basic principle that Tiger needed to talk to the public if he had any hope of diffusing the situation.
While I think that Tiger’s silence has forced some of his sponsors to react negatively, I feel that some of the recent blogs that go from saying that Tiger’s only hope of regaining his reputation is by kissing up to the female audience who was supposedly those most angered by his actions to his having committed “brand suicide” are somewhat extreme.
While Tiger has most certainly fallen from his pedestal as the perfect man, he will be forgiven, as most wayward men are. It may take some time, but once he returns to golf, his fans will rally and many of his sponsors will return (or new ones will replace them). Bottom line, Tiger will be fine even though he eschewed the wisdom of conventional PR and chose to remain silent in an effort to retain a shred of his privacy.