IntroductionFor the past few days, weeks and months the media has been extensively covering thestory of the disgraceful fall of former cyclist Lance Armstrong. A former seven (7)times winner of the Tour de France and possibly the most iconic figure in this sportever. After years of strenuous denials, Armstrong finally admitted in public that he hadin fact used banned substances and no one knows for sure what will happen next.I do not know what will happen next either, but I would like to use this situation tobuild a Marketing Case by performing a situation analysis, evaluating differentoptions and making a proposal that will help keep, restore or rebuild the “LanceArmstrong Brand”Please note this document has been made prior to the second interview presented byOprah
Prior SituationTo better understand where to go, we will start by analyzing the status of the “LanceArmstrong Brand” (LAB) previous to the scandal.Brand as a Product• Reach: LAB is a Product that is easy to access. LAB is available for everyone to follow, know and love• Attributes: LAB is Strong, determined, successful, winner, able to overcome any obstacle• Value: Honest, persistent and willing to give it all. A True Winner• Usage: LAB has become a symbol of “Willpower” by overcoming adversity• Customers: People from all different walks of life regardless on whether they follow or not Cycling as a sport. LAB addresses anyone interested on recognizing a true winner• Origins: American (positive)
Prior SituationBrand as a Organization• LAB is a credible, truthful, global responsible brandBrand as a Person• Genuine, energetic, determined and a winnerBrand as a symbol• Tour de France, LiveStrong and Fight Against Cancer.Brand Credibility• Strong, honest and projects positive attributes to those close to itValue Proposition• The only sportsman who overcame Cancer and came back to become the greatest cyclist in history
Current SituationWith the available information through the media, it is imperative we analyze thecurrent situation in order to evaluate options :Brand as a Product• Reach: LAB is a Product that is not easy to access. LAB is not available and he uses hand picked media to reach to the people. When doing so, the information provided is not clear.• Attributes: LAB is still Strong and determined as he admitted doing all because of his eagerness to win.• Value: Dishonest. But still, he supported a good cause (LiveStrong)• Usage: LAB has become a symbol of “Cheating” and “Bullying”• Customers: LAB addresses people who may still be in denial of the whole situation and those who are open to forgive cheaters if they are willing to change• Origins: American (negative)
Current SituationBrand as a Organization• LAB is not credible nor honest. The whole world knows he is not trustworthyBrand as a Person• Willing to do anything (cheating) in order to winBrand as a symbol• Fight Against Cancer.Brand Credibility• No credibility and projects negative attributes to those close to itValue Proposition• Actively and truthfully supported the Fight Against Cancer
Repositioning the BrandMany people are wondering what will happen next and how Lance Armstrong willreconstruct his brand. To answer this question a decision must be made as to what does hewants to achieve. Meaning he wants to maintain the same Branding Strategy or if he wantsto reposition the brand.• Keep the same positioning: Show everyone that Lance Armstrong can indeed be the greatest cyclist in the world and maintain its support to fight against cancer• Reposition the brand: Choose to focus on a different value proposition and on a specific segment of people. The options are: – Prove that he is a good athlete by going back to competitions such as Marathons and Triathlons -and providing evidence he is not cheating - so he can show what he can truly deliver. Maintain support to the Fight Against Cancer (*) – Do not go back to competition as a way to show remorse of what he has done and how he has affected the sport, but, come completely clean about what happened and place his efforts in supporting the Fight against Cancer (*) Please note that the first options considers cycling while the first repositioning option focuses not on cycling but on Triathlons and Marathons
Course of actionLets start by saying that the possibilities of fixing/reconstructing the “Lance ArmstrongBrand” as it was before is impossible. The core essence of the brand has been destroyedand it has lost its essence. Investing time and efforts on trying to maintain the samepositioning will only mean a waste of time and effort and the results will only reinforce hiscurrent perception among people. Because of these, I would not recommend investingtime and effort pursuing this option.From my perspective, since the Brand has been so damaged, the objective of therepositioning should be to find a positive space for the brand while also supporting theFight Against Cancer.To do so, the second option - not going back into competitions as a way to show remorseOf what he has done - and coming clean about everything and been active in the FightAgainst Cancer - is the best option, as it presents a fresh positive starting point and thepossibility to become a role model for those considering making the same errors.Everybody respects someone who admits making a mistake and everyone is willing toforgive if you honestly show you have changed. In addition, he is always free to practicesports and he could always find a way to have people see the results of his practices.
A New PositioningThe future of the LAB Brand lies on repositioning it immediately and by focusing allefforts on supporting the following key initiatives:1. Be completely open and tell the whole truth about what happened.2. Be clear that Lance Armstrong will not go back into professional cycling3. Be specific that he has learned his lesson and that he will make sure whatever it takes so others do not make the same error4. Be clear that his support to cancer has nothing to do with his actions and that he is committed to this causeFrom these actions, I would recommend the following positioning :“To people in the world who want to Fight and Find a Cure against cancer, Lance Armstrong,is an example that you can turn things around in your life and also be active in supportingthis great cause, because he beat Cancer and has been a key player in raising millions ofdollars worldwide for the Fight Against Cancer. In addition, he is a living example that youcan overcome any circumstance (negative and positive) and still remain focused on a goodinitiative”
Implementation and TacticsFor the implementation I recommend:1. Hold additional press conferences and interviews where ALL the truth is told.2. Announce to the general public his decision not to pursue professional cycling anymore, but, clarifies he will continue to be actively involved in sports.3. Make his self available to organizations that may be interested on his story so he can help others avoid making the same mistakes.4. Evaluate writing a “Tell All Book” where all Profits go toward LiveStong or a similar cause5. Make his self available to Organization that support the Fight for Cancer
Final ThoughtsPositioning a brand depends on the objective chosen by the Brand Manager (LanceArmstrong). Since nobody knows what he wants to achieve, the proposal is based onwhat I believe is what is best for him as a brand.Tactics to support the repositioning depends on the Strategy, therefore they can beavailable once the Strategy is defined.Something that is recommended regardless of the strategy or positioning chosen isthe fact that Lance Armstrong should come clean by opening up and sharing all theinformation relevant only to his bad behavior (cheating) and not compromisinganything not related to this event.