Crisis Communications 2010 and the Tiger Woods Scandal

By Gerard Braud

It’s hard to believe that in 2010, people can still screw up public relations, crisis communications, crisis management and media relations, as much as Tiger Woods and his handlers.

Friday’s statement by Woods was old school. It was bad. It was too little. It was too late.

The Gerard Braud school of crisis communications says you should issue a public comment within one hour or less of the onset of a crisis going public. That means a statement should have been issued the day of the accident.

It’s 2010 and we have I would have had Woods post a short YouTube video the morning after the accident. Nothing fancy; a simple point and shoot video camera with Tiger on camera saying, “Hi, this is Tiger Woods. Last night I did something really stupid and embarrassing. While backing out my driveway I hit a fire hydrant. I over reacted, pulled forward and hit a tree. You can imagine how embarrassing this must be for me. I’m okay. I’m not injured. I appreciate the concern of my fans. At this time I simply need to repair my car and my ego.”

When you say nothing, you open the door to speculation. When Tiger said nothing, he opened the door to all of his affairs. Had he issued a statement, there is a good chance none of this would have ever gone public and he could have dealt with his infidelity in private.

Waiting three months to make an appearance is unacceptable in 2010. Also unacceptable is the idea that Woods had to do the statement live, reading from a script, and taking no questions from reporters.

Here are my observations: Read more