Business Acceleration Relies on the Art of Listening

June 12, 2024By C8 ConsultingInsights

By Karen Brooks, Senior Consultant at Opinion Matters and Panellist at C8’s 20th anniversary event


While starting a business takes an enormous leap of faith coupled with guts and creativity, maintaining and growing a business requires ongoing commitment, motivation, and determination. It also benefits hugely from the simple art of listening.

I’ve known Paula for nearly two decades and it was a pleasure to join her and the C8 team as one of their guest speakers to talk about the theme of expansion and growth and how to keep innovating after being in business for multiple decades. It was also wonderful to be part of C8’s 20th birthday celebrations. What a wonderful evening spending time with great people, thank you!

On the theme of expansion and growth, markettiers was established 30 years ago when its founder, Howard Kosky, and I listened to what brands and organisations were saying their businesses wanted but were struggling to obtain. At the time they were looking for radio PR, but often trying to achieve it without an interesting story to tell!  So, armed with our deep understanding of what broadcasters wanted from an interest perspective, and, as importantly, needed to fulfil their broadcasting license, along with insight into the kind of messages clients were keen to explore and highlight, we set off to create a solution that would give our clients a strong, compelling narrative. That solution was data-driven content. Broadcasters needed to deliver a level of information relevant to their geographic location in order to meet their license requirement. By exploring angles of interest to the client that could be told using data broken down by regions or cities, our research would meet the needs of the broadcasters, the clients and, as an added bonus, pique the attention of listeners too as the content was interesting or informative to them!

So we tapped into a new technology that was becoming popular at the time and started to be used by people to share their behaviours, thoughts and opinions (it was called the Internet) and established a research offering that would evolve further down the timeline into a company called Opinion Matters. At the point of inception, the research industry was moving into an arena whereby panel providers were becoming more prevalent as enablers of research. We realised that we could offer a host of new services by meeting a need for clients to gather thoughts and opinions of particular levels of people within specified industry sectors by offering clients the opportunity to direct their research questions to targeted business audiences. We did not fully realise the immense value that we would ultimately deliver to businesses, but over the years with our offering, we’ve helped companies to make informed decisions, created strategies for all kinds of business purposes, enabled product and service development, established how happy customers were and where there was room for improvement, discovered if there was a competitor worth purchasing and much, much more.

The value of listening

Over the past 30 years, the market has evolved tremendously, and we have learned some valuable lessons along the way; the most important of all being the value of listening. Our businesses within The AFO Group have mainly been born from listening to what our clients wanted and needed. In turn, we have helped them to listen to what their customers and the broader market want, and to develop a deeper understanding of what customers need. By listening to the market these businesses have uncovered how the market could/would work, where the hurdles would be, what uncertainties exist and what solutions they could introduce or adapt to meet the needs that exist already, as well as in the future.

Listening is about taking what the client thinks they need, being curious and exploring what is driving the initial thoughts, identifying and removing anything that is clouding the thought and then testing and discussing it to see if it is still what they want or if something else has materialised or been established as a bigger priority. Furthermore, it is about getting different departments within organisations to collaborate and understand where they can all use the market insights gleaned more effectively, to work for them too within the business.

In the words of B.C Forbes, “If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.” To remain relevant in today’s business landscape, companies must adapt and evolve to changing market conditions, consumer behaviour, use of technology and customer needs. The first step to achieving this is to listen to what they want and then make it happen. The next step to accelerating business growth is listening to what else could add further value or capability. Business success starts and ends with listening and clearly C8 has been listening to its clients and their needs which is why it is thriving 20 years on

Speak with the communications specialists 

With 20 successful years in business, the team at C8 Consulting is perfectly placed to help you address your PR and communications challenges. Whether you’re looking to grow internationally, beachhead and roll out across new markets, or have secured series C, D or E funding to champion your next stage of growth, C8 Consulting is here to help you. Do get in touch: