In the interest of full disclosure I have to tell you I have a soft spot in my heart for Kim Martin. Though she’s running WE today, when I first met her at a WICT function in Washington many years ago, she was on Bill Goodwyn’s affiliate team at Discovery. Maybe it was Kim’s genteel Southern charm, maybe it was the quiet, soft-spoken way she carried herself, or maybe it was her razor-sharp grasp of industry issues. But whatever it was, from that day on I became a card-carrying member of the Kim Martin fan club. So, needless to say, I was delighted to learn eight months ago that she had climbed so far up Rainbow’s affiliate marketing ladder that she had run out of rungs. And though I had been meaning to call her for months to congratulate her on being named to head up WE, it was only last week that I finally got around to it. I caught up with her on her way back from the annual TCA tour, and from the airport we talked about some of the many things she’s doing at WE. We also talked about her background and I learned that she originally hails from a little dot on the map in the middle of Georgia called Milledgeville – which apparently would be known by no one if not for the state mental hospital that’s there. (In fact, Kim says in homes all across Georgia the term "Milledgeville" is now used in lieu of phrases like "nut house," and "loony bin." Such as: "What, ya’ll just escape from Milledgeville?" Or "Ya’ll do that again and I’ll have ya’ll committed to Milledgeville.") Kim says the Cox folks in Atlanta still get a lot of mileage out of that little kernel of information, and always seem to want to remind her of her hometown’s sole claim to fame. I asked her as one who cut her teeth in affiliate marketing, what had she learned that’s she’s now applying to her role and a developer of content. "Having worked on the affiliate side for so long, I have a great advantage because I know what affiliates are looking for in the networks they add," she told me. As a recovering marketer she said she also has a healthy respect for the power of a well-crafted brand. "One of the first things I did when I got this job eight months ago was to gather the staff together and say we needed to focus on our brand-and that remains one of our primary concerns every time we look at a new show." So what does WE stand for as a brand? "We’re all about relationships," Kim told me, because our research indicated that women are all about relationships. She said that, unlike in the past when WE was more or less a general entertainment network for women, it now focuses on the relationships women have with celebrities, with their families and friends, and with themselves. She also said WE has made a serious commitment to original programming, and over the last year has increased the amount of its original content by over 30%, while the network’s overall programming philosophy has deemphasized movies and focused on shorter form content that is edgier and more contemporary. As for her plans for WE, Kim said the trend toward more contemporary content that is steeped in popular culture will continue. She said there will also be even more reality programs, such as this fall’s "Kiss and Tell." And finally, she said that as a marketer, she will continue to craft a brand that resonates with her audience. And how will she be able to do that? Easy, she said. She’ll just make sure that whatever WE develops appeals to her. "I’m a working woman and a soccer mom," Kim told me. "I am, quite literally, our target audience, so if I like it, chances are we’re on to something."

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