Six years ago, Tiger Woods, the golf star, became the face for Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. The company brought him on-board to represent its ‘high performance’ business strategy. At the time, it was Woods’ first business-to-business promotion.
The sports star, along with golf as his profession cum passion, became the heart and soul of the brand’s advertising and communication; to the extent that today, the brand seems to rely heavily on Woods.
Considering the close advertising bond of Accenture with Woods, and with the current revelation of details with regard to the sportsman’s personal life. finding out if a brand can take the blow in such a situation.
Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy South Asia
The fact is that at times, the brand does tend to become vulnerable. When the brand ambassador does things that are not in conformity with the values of the brand, it does show up in some way. Considering the case of Accenture, when its advertising is so closely associated with Woods – to the extent that it becomes dependent on the latter – the brand could have to bear the brunt of it.
Harish Krishnamachar, vice-president, South Asia, World Sport Group (India)
For a sportsman, there is no other aspect to his life. It depends on the brand to have patience and be willing to give the endorser his/her own space to deal with his/her personal issues, which in Woods’ case, he wants to keep within his family. To add, Woods has been an iconic brand of the decade. Considering his track record with regard to the association with brand Accenture, 99 per cent of the association that he has with Accenture has been impeccable – the only reason why a Tiger Woods is endorsing Accenture, in comparison to, say, a Shane Warne.
The most important point is that brand Accenture has leveraged Woods singularly well.
Govind Pandey, president, McCann Erickson
It’s essential that the celebrity/sports-star fits well with the brand – especially in the case of Accenture, where the values of the brand are equated with the work ethics and Woods’ values, it becomes important. Considering such unpredictable situations, a brand always takes a calculated risk. For Accenture, it is obvious that there will be negative conversation for a while, coupled with a short-term impact.
Jayanta Sengupta, director, Skills Bridge Consultants
Considering the strong brand Accenture is; it is possibly not going to be hit by the current situation. The prospective employees, customers are not going to stop buying into the brand, simply because of this. That’s because customers don’t buy into brand Accenture due to Tiger Woods.
It is significant to keep in mind that a brand ambassador is simply one of the channels through which the perception of a brand is built. Accenture has chosen the brand ambassador specifically for the sport/profession he pursues. Accenture, as a brand, has been built on something much beyond advertising – product performance is something you can’t discount.