So, what happens when we want to cut the connection (for whatever reason)? Sometimes it is a simple matter to let the relationship expire and disappear into the night. Other times it may not be that easy - or private.
Take the Tiger Woods situation. Here we have one man, several corporate partners, and several big, public decisions (as well as executions). So, how is it being done? Here are two versions:
Version 1: ACCENTURE - aka "bridge burning"
In a statement Accenture said, "...given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising."
Version 2: GILLETTE - aka "leave the door open"
According to an article in espn.go.com:
Now, imagine your role is to assure your company is seen in the best possible light. This includes being honest, ethical, positive, wholesome, etc. All the good things. Which version accomplishes this goal? I believe that both receive an equal score.
Also, imagine that you desire a clean and clear break from a spokesperson. Which version accomplishes this goal? I believe that both receive an equal score.
Then, imagine that you want to portray your company as having a degree of class while leaving the door open to any potential relationship with the celebrity. Which version accomplishes this goal? I believe that Gillette aced it.
In fact, I believe that Gillette has earned the 2009 "Elegant Parting Of The Ways" award. Their method should serve as an example for all of us to study and learn from. No one was disparaged, everyone (including their customer) was respected, the message is clear, and there are no questions.
This is effective and exemplary Marcom - and a technique that will work in the B2B realm.