Accenture may have gotten lost in the “woods,” but they somehow ended up in the wild. In their new campaign, Accenture replaced their wounded Tiger with images of elephants, fish, lizards and frogs—oh my! As I stood at the airport looking at an elephant surfing and some leaping frogs, I was taken aback. The job of the most in-demand, iconic global athlete on the plant was outsourced. Tiger was replaced with a cheaper, risk-adverse form of labor—all hired from the local zoo.
Accenture’s decision is not that different from what most major corporations are doing to lower their overhead and the risk associated with the traditional American workforce—i.e. made in China and serviced in India. Think about it. Accenture was paying Tiger Woods millions per year for the right to use his image in advertising. I doubt the surfing Elephant or the leaping frog received a signing bonus in this case (I could not reach either for comment to confirm for sure).
I will refrain from rehashing the mistakes, missteps, and mishaps of Tiger Woods for now. I will reserve that for a future discussion about the plethora of ills plaguing today’s athletes. However, the timely transition made by Accenture shows how important it is to have a carefully crafted crisis management plan in place. It is like a fire extinguisher. You do not need it until you need it, but when you need it, you really need it.
Given the tight jobs market, employers are constantly looking for ways to lower expenditures and risk. To prevent your brand from being outsourced, too, here are some personal career lessons we can all learn from Accenture on how to rebuild a bruised brand.
Focus on Your Strengths. When your brand has taken a bad beating, think carefully about your next step. The unique dynamic here is that Accenture did not actually do anything wrong (this time), which was a huge plus. Therefore, the transitional strategy needed to focus on their strengths as a leading performance-driven firm, and how to channel that specific message via a new medium. Likewise, your first step should be to specifically define your brand goals and objectives, and then ensure that message reflects and highlights your strengths.
Reduce Your Risk. If you mess up once, make sure you do not mess up twice. The break-up with Tiger was like a really bad divorce. Accenture was not going to get “married” again by entering another bet-the-company type of relationship with a
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