Establishing A Legacy - Lessons From The Tiger Woods Rebrand

It’s hard to believe, but it has already been two decades since Tiger Woods took the sporting world by storm. As a young phenom, Tiger didn’t just enter the game of golf – he took control of it – and singlehandedly elevated the popularity of the sport. He smashed through barriers and record books alike and brought an athletic approach to the game that would go on to change the way an entire generation thought about training for competitive golf.

As he transitions to a new phase of his career, Tiger Woods is building the foundation he’ll need to ensure that he leaves behind a continued and lasting legacy in the golf world, business world and society. With Nike taking a notable step back from golf (discontinuing equipment), Tiger needs to utilize his marketing stardom to produce more than wins on the golf course. 

His new brand – TGR – recognizes this, opting to bring home all of his business ventures into a neat and tidy portfolio, and positioning him as a future titan of industry in hospitality, entertainment, course design and philanthropy. If the move is executed to its full potential, Tiger will shift over seamlessly from life as spokesman for his businesses to the driving force behind them all – from dominating on the links, to dominating in the boardroom. He already has most of the tools to do so.

In my view, there are five key ideas that every leader should consider when establishing their legacy goals, as we learn from Tiger’s rebranding and reorganization of his business endeavors.

1. The Size of Your Leadership Platform Determines The Size of Your Legacy Opportunity

My mentor and business guru, Dr. Balaji Krishnamurthy, grabbed my attention at a leadership retreat when he said that Leadership = Leverage + Legacy. After being CEO for multiple global companies, he started a consultancy dedicated to the “intentionality of your leadership agenda.” I was riveted with the notion that the size of your leadership platform created the opportunity to build a path to your enduring legacy. Tiger Woods has as large of leadership platform as anyone in sport, and, therefore, can create an agenda through TGR to realize sizable legacy programs.

2. Establish Your Personal Brand Values 

To achieve one’s ultimate legacy, as I learned from my business guru, one must establish clearly who you are and what you stand for. Yes, we are all brands, and we all stand for multiple things. 

To say nothing of his personal matters, Tiger knows his values, from a competitive standpoint – he believes in precision, dedication and mastering the necessary skills to dominate. His incredible success on and off the course also lend a regal nature to his brand and certainly a luxury veneer. All of these traits are reflected in the simple – or even imperial – “three Stripes W” logo that’s been created for him. Knowing your values, especially in a situation like Tiger’s, where clarifying them is necessary, is all important. He seems to recognize this, and his brand will be better understood and make a stronger statement for it.

3. Lead in the Face of Change

Golf exists in a change environment right now, as do many industries – whether it’s due to changing consumer interests, the economy, the Internet, or other factors.  When you’re making a change while surrounded by many, it’s important to be sure of the right move. With Nike scaling back in golf, Tiger saw a chance to own his public persona in a way that he wasn’t able to as the face of Nike Golf. In this sense, his place in the market is a perfect reaction to his growing business ventures. This change may be more subtle than it is radical, but his willingness to enter multiple markets sends a clear message to similar service providers.

4. Be Deliberate In The Transition of Your Legacy

Knee-jerk reactions aren’t a good idea for individuals, but they’re a death sentence for enterprise businesses. In this early stage of his transition or any transition, there will be a big splash and a lot of noise. It’s best to steer through it and take note of what things consumers are steering towards (or competitors are stealing from) and to bolster those, while quietly dialing back the less successful or more harshly received elements of the roll-out. It takes some time to make adjustments, but it’s meant to develop organically in the marketplace. Tiger has made his statement, and now it’s time for the marketplace to react to his intentions.

5. Leverage and Accelerate Your Position 

You can accelerate your brand through investment, acquisition, marketing and advertising. It’s the time and money continuum. At the end of the day, when you’re starting up, it can be foolish to throw money at trying to grow too fast. The fact of the matter is – it just takes time – you’re going to have to have a long-range growth approach to leave your legacy. 

Tiger accelerated the TGR launch because he is the greatest golfer in the world and has a huge brand around the world. It’s going to come down to how he applies his investments, how focused he is, and if his business is “intentional” about its reason for existing. He’s going to give the name, he’s going to give the time, he’s going to provide communication, but there will have to be knowledgeable business people to leverage these assets and execute a successful business plan. 

When it’s all said and done, creating a legacy requires leadership, values and intention in the face of change and transition. Beyond the accolades at the moment, legacy transcends the test of time. Tiger, through TGR, has hopefully created the foundation for how the future generations will remember his name.

1 comment about "Establishing A Legacy - Lessons From The Tiger Woods Rebrand".
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  1. Thomas Villing from Villing & Company, Inc., November 2, 2016 at 4:35 p.m.

    Interesting "how-to" article relevant to virtually any entity seeking to rebrand in a changing environment.  While using TGR as an example brings some borrowed interest to the premise I suppose, but I am personally very skeptical Tiger can successfully rebuild brand credibility after the missteps of the last few years.

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