Ep. 22 - Staying True to Your Brand While Testing & Learning to Deliver Unpredictable Fun - with Aline Cox



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WGN Morning News is the #1 morning news show in Chicago. As a station that has been around for 70 years, they have a unique brand that people trust – a brand that today’s guest, Executive Producer Aline Cox, strives to maintain.

Today, Aline shares how the WGN Morning News team, and the WGN brand, continues to evolve, every day, testing and learning to determine what makes good TV, while staying true to their mission.


Staying Relevant & “Real”

The WGN Morning News is a station that their viewers inherently trust given they been on the air so long and their current anchors have been around for 20 years. Over those years, they’ve developed a unique brand that blends being “real” with unpredictable fun.

For Aline, being “real” means sifting through opinions and delivering the facts – no small feat when everyone is writing with a bias.

But the news is still a business, and it’s not enough to only give the facts. You have to win your audience’s attention, and the WGN Morning News team has to fight that battle every morning.

So staying relevant and real becomes a delicate balance, and the WGN Morning News team constantly tries new things to attract and engage their audience.


A Test & Learn Approach While Aligning to the Brand

With the breadth of choices the WGN audience has available today, it creates increased pressure to constantly be top of mind. And with this increased competition and technology shifting consumer behavior, it’s more important than ever before to have that trusted relationship.

Even with 70 years of goodwill with the Chicago audience, the WGN Morning News still has to evolve and keep up with these changing dynamics. That means testing, learning, and iterating to see what content captures attention while staying true to the brand that attracted their audience in the first place.

Sometimes the pendulum swings too far one way or the other, sometimes the news team comes up short, l, but that’s just another opportunity to learn and adjust… and it might even make for good TV.



Key Takeaways

  • Consumers interact with brands they trust. Preserve that trust by keeping your brand consistent at its core especially if your brand has a history and fans who have come to know and love that brand.

  • With increased competition, you have to always find ways to be relevant and entertaining. So constantly test things out, look at the data (but don’t rely on only that), learn from it, and make iterative changes.

  • You still have to balance innovation with staying true to what you stand for, which in Aline’s case means doing the news correctly (just the facts, no bias).

  • Being true to your brand doesn’t just mean delivering the news in Aline’s case –  it has to carry through to sales, marketing, and in every way the business operates (even the snacks in your green room).

  • Failure is an opportunity. Even if you fail hard, leverage that to create something meaningful (or funny).

  • Do what you love and let that passion guide you. “If you put out a unique product that people like and trust, that is a success.”





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