From Tiger to Elephants, Lizards And Frogs

Has your image taken a hit? Take a cue from Accenture's new re-branding strategy

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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  • I think Accenture’s choice was the right one given the business arena they operate in. Personally, I would like to see Tiger regain some endorsements. I believe this is the perfect opportunity for someone to prove that resiliency is important! Tiger can be the “American Dream 2.0”. The American Dream 1.0 was all about meager beginnings, a strong finish and the story in between. Version 2.0 will be about buoyancy; bouncing back when circumstance pushes you down. That is a story that America needs…ask our unemployed and our fledgling economy. Tiger bounce back man! America needs to see that story…

    • Alfred Edmond Jr.

      I think Accenture is making the sensible move for now, making the best of a bad situation. But in the long run, animals (or animated images) do not stand up against a truly effective live spokesperson, which is why companies return to using the latter despite the potential for scandal and embarrassing personal foibles. Tiger Woods is not the first “perfect” spokesperson to be revealed as human, and he won’t be the last. Animals are definitely safer, but there’s no way that Madison avenue will pass on athletes and other celebrities with national if not global appeal.

    • As usual, your advice is sound and delivered concisely, but with enough detail and humor to make it useful and interesting.

      Thanks, ME!

  • JP

    I agree. Accenture did what makes good business sense for the time being. But what about thinking out of the box as you mention. Adopting a longer term approach for its investments. Let’s just take Accenture, Nike, and the PGA (a quasi-sponsor). Instead of dumping Tiger, what if these sponsors took the stance that we have invested millions of dollars and in order to avoid losing that investment combine forces in the effort to rehabilitate the image of the human spokesman. In my opinion, dropping a spokesman for what amounts to a non-legal matter is tantamount to executives that are brought in to cut cost and their strategy is to layoff workers to meet goals. Any company can cut their losses when a humans reveals their flaws and it becomes a publicity nightmare. What I would look for from a business leader like Accenture and the like are ideas that are on the cutting edge and new strategies that are yet to be attempted. Some can say the move for Accenture was good business sense, but I expected more. After all, I am sure the clients that they advise would also. Thanks for this article..

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