Recent events around Tiger Woods have sparked thousands of conversations online. Apart from the obvious moral issues surrounding the saga, I believe there is a valuable lesson in social media and marketing.
We all know there are “new rules” of marketing. They have been written about endlessly by folks (smarter than me) like Kyle Lacy and Tim Sanders. Chris Brogan and Julien Smith as well as Mitch Joel have written books about it.
The main principle I discern from these guys is that authenticity and sincerity build trust. The more trust, the more authority. Authority allows you to speak into my life. When you have authority you have influence and as Brian Clark teaches us, Authority Rules.
In business today, social capital is strong currency. The appreciation or depreciation of that currency is the result of our perceived trust in that person, company, or organization. Think about the last time you looked at a review on Amazon. If every review is 100% positive we question the sincerity of the message. We see things as fake if there are no imperfections. None of us are flawless, and if something seems too perfect we don’t trust it.
The worst thing organizations or people can do to lose value is to pretend to be something they are not. Eventually the smoke clears and the mirrors crack, leaving the real truth exposed. The offending party is disqualified. No more authority. No more influence.
This is what happened to Tiger. The life he told us and sold us was not the life he walked. To make matters worse, he stayed in the shadows which communicated more deceit. Trust was broken. We didn’t want to be Tiger Woods anymore. We stopped looking to him for help with decisions on what to wear, drink, or drive. His social currency plummeted to the depths of the ZIM dollar.
John Daly’s social currency conversely has appreciated each year. In the midst of multiple divorces, battles with numerous addictions (gambling and drinking for starters), and scuffles with PGA Tour policies John’s popularity and authority has continued to rise. Why? He is not a role model and is far from perfect. Authenticity is his key. Love him or hate him, John Daly is true. He doesn’t hide behind any facade. He lays it out in the open, both good and bad. This helps people feel connected to Daly, they believe him. They listen to him because he is one of them, imperfect but trying.
While you are building your company,personal brand, or community remember authenticity and transparency will build social equity. If you are caught in a tiger trap, be quick to apologize, come clean, and immediately start rebuilding the trust.
Here is Rick Reilly’s recommendations on how Tiger can rebuild. What would you have Tiger do?