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Phil or Tiger?

You can only be a fan of Phil or Tiger. You cannot be loyal to both. I’ve seen this written a few places, but I don’t agree. In fact, I like both. And that works pretty well for me because usually one, but not both, is in contention in any given tournament. So I always have someone to follow and root for. But why are people loyal to someone like Phil or Tiger? It’s not like we actually know them or really interact with them. Why are we loyal to them? And can we learn anything from that about the loyalty of our customers?

I think people are loyal to Tiger for a few reasons, mostly related to admiration. First, people like winners. Tiger has been ranked number 1 in professional golf for so long, it is almost unfathomable that he would be knocked off the pedestal—even when he is recovering from knee surgery and not playing for several months. Success is contagious and creates loyalty.

Second, people admire work ethic. Tiger’s attention to detail, exercise routine, his willingness to change his swing in search of perfection are all things that most of us admire. Plus it’s nice that he listens to us. I mean, I keep telling him to fix that swing of his. I’m glad he listens.

Third, people want to be part of something important. You can argue that witnessing Tiger win majors on his way to eclipsing Jack’s heretofore unbreakable record of 18 is not that important. And it’s not. But in the world of sports, it’s huge. And witnessing it, being a part of it, causes people to push for another Tiger fist pump on the 72nd hole of a major tournament.

How about Phil? I think people are loyal to Phil for totally different reasons; and maybe that is why many people are either for Phil or Tiger, but not both.

The reasons people are loyal to Phil all center around our ability to relate to him. First, Phil is not exactly cut the way Tiger is. He is strong and able and probably pretty fit, but I can relate more to him than Tiger when I look in the mirror. You know what I mean.

Second, he is a family guy. And you can’t help but love his family. They love him, he loves them, we love them all. I know it’s sappy, but it’s true. And you can bet that Phil fans will all live through Amy’s bout with breast cancer like it is their own sister.

Third, he plays golf like we do (or at least like I do). I can just hear him talking to Bones, his caddy, and saying something like, “See that little hole in the trees, Bones? Let’s put it through there with a little cut on it, bounce it off that rock by the corner of the pond, and spin it back off the down slope on the green. Give me my 8 iron.” I try that shot all the time. Hasn’t worked yet, but one of these days.

So I am loyal to Tiger because I admire him and I am loyal to Phil because I relate to him. What if we could serve our customers in a way that they admired and interact with them in a way to which they could relate? Could we make them the kind of loyal fans that cheer for Phil and Tiger?

About the Author

Phil Bounsall

Phil Bounsall

As president at Walker, Bounsall is focused on the development and execution of strategies and operating plans designed to enhance Walker’s position as a global leader in customer intelligence. Bounsall also works with Walker’s client service teams to help meet the needs of Walker’s clients.

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