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Why You Should Get to Know Wade Kingsley – Part 2

Last week I wrote about my admiration for Wade Kingsley, the Australian-based consultant from whom I’ve learned a great deal in the short time I’ve known him. Most of last week’s piece discussed creating future demand versus harvesting existing demand, terminology that comes from the Masters of Advertising Effectiveness course offered by the World Advertising Research Center, which Wade has completed and highly recommends to others.

Even if you follow Wade’s recommendation to focus more on creating future demand versus harvesting existing demand and you design your marketing campaigns with plans that cover paid media, owned media, and earned media, you’re not necessarily maximizing your campaigns’ impact. Wade argues that if your campaigns don’t connect with consumers on an emotional level—and “get people to fall in love with the thing,” as I quoted him last week—you may not see the results you want.

That’s why for this week, in part 2 of my thoughts on why you should get to know Wade, I will focus on what he is especially passionate about: creativity. Without creativity, it’s extremely hard to make an emotional connection with others through marketing.

Wade Kingsley The Ideas Business

The Ideas Business Founder Wade Kingsley

Creativity can be a funny thing because many people don’t think they are creative. Wade recently shared with me a funny observation—whenever he is speaking to a group and asks people to raise their hands if they think they’re creative, one-third of the audience doesn’t do so, and this two-to-one ratio is consistent every time he asks the question. If you’re in that one-third, don’t despair, because Wade can point you to steps you can take to enhance your creativity.

First, everyone should dispel their beliefs about not being creative. Wade feels that everyone is creative; it’s just that some of us don’t give ourselves credit for the everyday acts of creativity we do. We may feel that being creative requires doing things like authoring a novel, playing a musical instrument, or hosting a radio show. The reality is that these things are applications of creativity and one’s ability to do them is no greater an indicator of being creative than—for example—your decision to add another vegetable to a meal you are cooking.

In other words, creativity “is a confidence game,” and the best way to be confident in your creativity is to be prepared to fail. Wade feels that many people working in audio have this confidence; they know that not every element of content they create or every promotion they do is going to be successful, but if a sizable number of these efforts resonate with consumers, they will win. You learn more things from when you fail than when you succeed, and if you’re willing to fail on occasion, your confidence to apply creative thinking to the challenges and opportunities you face will grow.

Another technique Wade endorses is to start small. Before musical superstars were performing in massive stadiums in front of tens of thousands of fans, most of them were performing in small clubs or rooms in their childhood homes in front of their families. You can test out creative ideas with audiences as small as one person whose opinions you trust. Wade says, “It’s about trying to minimize your risk, but it’s important to take a risk,” adding that “failure is critical to creativity.”

The crowds weren’t always “Eras Tour” big

One last point about creativity is that its importance will only continue to grow, as the days of copying ideas that have been executed elsewhere are dwindling. Consumers have easy access to so much more content from so many more sources than they used to, making it difficult for you to connect with them emotionally by emulating ideas executed in other markets or countries. In other words, they’ve seen it all before, so you need to bring them something new or fresh to get them to love you.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t look elsewhere for inspiration. I think Wade summed this up perfectly for those of us in the audio entertainment business in our last conversation when he said, “If we can just accept that there is stuff to learn, as a starting point, no matter where you are in the world, and seek to learn it, and implement it, then that will make for a much healthier industry.” That’s a way of thinking that I can get behind and I am fortunate that I know someone like Wade Kingsley who espouses it.




Why You Should Get to Know Wade Kingsley – Part 1

I relish opportunities to meet new people, especially those with whom I have a common bond but who also expose me to innovative ideas and new ways of thinking. Thanks to having a mutual client, I’ve gotten to know Wade Kingsley over the past year, and I already believe every media professional can benefit from getting to know him.

For those unfamiliar with Wade, he spent 20 years in Australian radio and then left the day-to-day of the media business to start his own company, The Ideas Business. Wade’s company has a simple mission—to make the world a more creative place—and it pursues that in many ways, including consulting businesses on how to creatively solve problems.

We share a passion for helping clients market themselves more effectively, and what I really like about Wade is that he is a creative person who bases his advice on data. I have learned so much from Wade that I am going to use this week’s and next week’s edition of Tuesdays With Coleman to highlight key takeaways from my conversations with Wade.

Wade Kingsley The Ideas Business

Wade Kingsley, Founder/The Ideas Business

That Wade is a kindred spirit is affirmed for me when he describes the idea of harvesting existing demand versus creating future demand. This is not a new concept for me—my colleagues and I regularly encourage clients to think about how to use marketing for long-term brand building and not just for short-term listening activation, perhaps best exemplified by Sam Milkman’s “The Urgency of Brand Building: A Conversation with Pierre Bouvard” blog post in January 2022—but Wade’s framing of the concept really resonates. Wade cites research from entities such as the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, the World Advertising Research Center, and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, whose analysis of over 20,000 campaigns over 20 years supports devoting 60% of a brand’s marketing to creating future demand versus 40% for harvesting existing demand.

What does Wade mean by “creating future demand” for radio stations, podcasts, and streaming services? Wade advocates for marketing that gives consumers who don’t use (or don’t even know) your brand a reason for doing so. That may not cause them to start using your brand right away, but when they decide they need what you offer, the chance of them consuming your brand will be significantly greater if your marketing connects with them on an emotional level. Wade is hopeful that marketers in the audio space are coming around to “emotionally promoting their brands, rather than [in the case of radio stations] just rationally hitting people over the head with a frequency, a positioning statement, and a format. We need to get people to fall in love with the thing.”

Wade and I agree that the recent emphasis—especially by radio brands—on marketing to harvest existing demand has been problematic. (An example of this is targeting PPM panelists, as I described in “Stop Chasing Meters, Build A Brand” in November 2023.) In fact, on how this shift in emphasis coincided with the explosion of other audio entertainment options over the last decade, Wade commented, “If radio as an industry had been doing more of the creating future demand…perhaps radio wouldn’t be in its current state.”

You may agree with the points above about creating future demand but may also feel that it’s an impossible task given the limited marketing resources available to many audio brands. Wade, however, segments the marketing landscape in a way that may give those of you with limited resources hope.

When most people think of marketing, they focus on paid media, where they pay someone else to advertise their message. However, Wade likes to point his clients to two other forms of media that are crucial to successful marketing efforts. Owned media are platforms that they control but for which they don’t pay to carry their messages. Examples of these are their websites, apps, and social channels. Brands can also use earned media, which doesn’t cost money but which they don’t control. Earned media includes “traditional” PR efforts (i.e., local TV coverage of a station event) and getting others to share your content on social platforms.

Wade is a big advocate for mapping out your paid, owned, and earned media for every marketing effort. It’s not enough to have these plans, however; a good marketing campaign also requires creativity, and in next week’s blog I will share more of what I have learned from Wade about fostering creativity.