The power of listening


When it comes to defining a brand, what comes first, the copy or the design? At The Canopy, it all starts with listening. 

When it comes to our creative method, everything flows from our mantra; Design together. This is not only what drives us as a creative team, but it’s also our promise to our clients that this will be very much a collaboration, with their input every bit as valuable as our insight. 

The right copy or tone of voice for a particular client is a fundamental facet of a successful branding project. And in order for use to help our clients define their brand voice, we need to understand what drives them. That’s where our discovery days play a vital role in unearthing the essential truths that unlock real brand power. Learning how they speak to each other and to people they work with can really help us shape the characteristics of their brand language. 

The discovery day process is a vital part in helping understand the headspace of the people and the business we will be working with. In pre-Covid times we would invite clients to our studio and encourage them to bring a variety of their people from across the business, in order to gain as broad an understanding as possible. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve run the sessions virtually with great success, perhaps as it enables a broader cross-section of representatives to attend without taking up a full day due to travel. 

The days are operated very much as an open forum, providing a vital insight into their people, their culture and their business. They are an opportunity to discuss their vision, inspiration and aspirations, and to spark ideas that shape the creative process. 

Find the why, to find the way.

Perhaps the most powerful tool we have at our disposal during these sessions is the power of listening. Finding the inner voice of our clients’ business comes primarily from listening. By listening actively, we can learn what motivates them, what they are passionate about, their hopes, dreams, fears and expectations. 

In order to find the way, we first have to find the why. Those initial foundations of creative truth that form the building block of a brand could be buried deep inside a clients’ subconscious mind, and it’s our job to help tease it out of them. 

The hook upon which we hang an entire brand can often come from a quote that clients may not even remember saying during our sessions. That eureka moment could be a statement buried deep within a wider conversation that suddenly jumps out at you, a simple line that reveals their true feelings or aspirations for the brand. 

Listen first. Design later.

Often the product comes secondary to the people. Customers will buy into you and your people if they think you’re acting the right way, or in a way that engages and connects with them on a meaningful level. That’s where listening and understanding can be truly powerful.  

Everyone wants to do something different, to think, act and speak in a way that differentiates and elevates them and their business, and by listening actively, you can often be privy to those golden insights that will help achieve that from your very first meeting. 

By listening carefully and collaborating closely, you can design something beautiful, meaningful and impactful.