What Can Sirius XM Learn from Tiger Woods?

Sirius XM and Tiger Woods are a couple of very powerful brands. Brands that are constantly confronted with challenges and want to succeed at all costs. Brands that have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. Brands that have stumbled and fallen and got back up. But only one of these brands seems to get “it”, and it’s not Sirius XM.

After much anticipation, Sirius XM has finally released its new app for the iPhone and the iTouch. Here’s the good news: you can dowload the app for FREE! Yippee.

Here’s the bad news: Unless you have a subscription to Sirius XM, the app is useless. Here’s more bad news: Even if you have a subscription, you will have to pay more money to use it. And here is the worst news: If you don’t have a subscription and buy one or if you already have one and pay an additional fee, you still only have access to SOME of the Sirius XM programming.

No NFL Play-by-Play
No MLB Play-by-Play
No Howard Stern

So, what is the point? And more important from a branding perspective, how many times does Sirius XM think it can unapologetically disappoint its customers and “fans” before they finally say enough is enough?

Which leads me to my other question and perhaps the answer to this question: WWTD?

Tiger is more than just the ultimate competitor, he is also smart. He is smart enough to realize that on his way to winning (and it is clearly not just about the money), he needs to be considerate of his fan base and the golf industry and the sports media and the communities he lives in. In other words, he needs to be the anti-John Daly.

Whether it comes naturally to him or not is irrelevant. Whether he believes in it is also irrelevant. What matters is that he is aware of it, understands it is important, and acts on it. Maybe Tiger has good advisors, maybe he has acquired wisdom from his parents and the natural maturing process, maybe his wife reminds him every day. Regardless, he gets “it”. Which is why he can get away with bad days on the course when he is tossing both “F” bombs and golf clubs.

If Tiger were Sirius XM – aware of its questionable reputation and aware of the deep recession we are in – he would be giving away more than a free app. Tiger would allow FREE access to all of its current and future subscribers and charge only a nominal fee to non-subscribers in the hope that they would become engaged and perhaps buy a full subscription… by choice. And Tiger would probably fight like hell to provide access to the MLB, NFL, NASCAR and Howard Stern (even if mobile-performance rights don’t allow it, you can still fight for it).

And maybe one day, everyone will rally: I am Sirius.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.