Battin is helping make the news and make it more appealing
to CNN viewers.
Battin 98 has helped rebrand CNN
Battin 98 left Kellogg, she hit the ground running.
Having completed a Half Ironman triathlon a grueling
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run
with fellow Kellogg School classmates two weeks before graduation,
Battin ran full speed into a marketing career that has included
stints at Coca-Cola Co., EzGov Inc. and most recently, CNN,
where as vice president of strategic marketing she has orchestrated
a hugely successful rebranding of the companys news
joined CNN in November 2000 as director of strategic marketing
for the companys three domestic networks, CNN, CNN Headline
News and CNNfn. Her charge was to refresh the cable news channels
struggling brands a considerable task, given that the
company didnt have much of a marketing department and
was rapidly losing viewers to competitors Fox News, MSNBC
the CNN networks had a well-established reputation for delivering
high-quality journalism, viewers were only tuning in to breaking
news. People called [CNN] their spare tire,
Battin says. If there was a problem or emergency, people
knew they could turn to it and count on it, but they didnt
need it on a daily basis.
years, the management at CNN was comprised primarily of journalists
who discounted most of the companys competition, and
who didnt believe the organization needed a strategic
marketing steward, Battin explains. As a result, because the
CNN brand had been neglected for a while, it really
needed to be dusted off, she says.
and her team started with CNN Headline News, redefining its
target audience as the baby boomer generation, a younger group
than had been tuning in previously. They also revamped the
way the network reported the news, making most of the days
programming live and hiring new talent. They created a multi-element
screen and added a news wheel, allowing viewers
to know what segment of the news was coming up and when.
have been a big success, Battin says. Since last August, Headline
News has seen almost 100 percent growth among the target audience.
project on Battins branding to-do list involved revamping
CNNs flagship network, whose overhaul will include bringing
in new talent such as Connie Chung, scheduled to join with
a prime time show in the second quarter of 2002. For the financial
news network, CNNfn, Battins team is working on plans
to partner with Money magazine and expand coverage of personal
previous work experience and love of a good challenge
shes run five marathons, to date have prepared
her well for her current responsibilities. Prior to joining
CNN, she was VP of marketing at EzGov Inc., an e-government
Internet company based in Atlanta. Before that, she served
as an associate brand manager at Coca-Cola Co.
says she often calls on the strategic thinking and problem
solving abilities she honed at Kellogg. She also credits the
schools oft-acclaimed focus on teamwork, which has been
particularly useful in managing cross-functional teams in
the frenzied, deadline-driven atmosphere of a news organization.
A lot of people that you work with start in the weeds
and its very hard for them to take a step back and look
at the broader picture, and I think thats a skill that
Kellogg taught, she explains.
says her favorite part of her job is the passion that the
people at CNN have. Theres a sense that were
doing something good, she says. Not only do we
love our jobs, but at the end of the day, were keeping
America and the world informed. Thats a neat feeling
to come to work everyday and know that youre
contributing to that.
Mary E. Morrison