Mathew Moore is like a river. He’s carved his own way in a fast-growing business. Spearheading the definition of the Canvas brand as it is today, and what it will be known for in the future. He flows between people and places, connecting them all and moving the business forward in his unique style. He’s a people magnet. Wherever we go and whoever we meet, people who know Mat break into their biggest most genuine smile, it’s just one of his many skills.
Today, we’re meeting at Canvas Duke Street to talk about his numerous marketing hats, learning curves, and where he’d take Sir David Attenborough out for dinner. We pass a beautiful pendant chandelier, as we wind our way up the elegant staircase of this restored Victorian townhouse. We sit together on a velvet sofa in a broad beam of autumn sunshine, the smell of fresh coffee and authentic timber beams fills the air.
So tell us, what’s Mathew Moore working on at the moment?
“The big project at the moment is the rebrand. I’ve been here 18 months, but even when I joined Canvas, there were plans already in place to do it. We weren’t starting from scratch, but it was still in its infancy in terms of transitioning from this family business to something with real scale.
“Coming in from a marketing perspective, there was already a rough plan, but Canvas hadn’t had a fully fledged marketing department before I arrived. We’ve developed new brand values, pillars, and ‘rules’ for the identity of the brand, but there have also been iterations of that even before my time. Now, it feels like we are professionalising. Creating guidelines and material we’ll stick with and abide by. Now, it’s about understanding how we start to use everything externally after we’ve brought everyone on board internally. We’re on the verge of a full rollout, with a new website coming which will be huge for us. Much more commercial, so we can showcase some of the fantastic buildings and individual units we have. But it’s also showing the new colours and the feel of what Canvas is about. It’s been there in the background. You can almost feel it, but now you can see it and you can understand it. It feels like it’s all coming together.”
I imagine, articulating a brand is one of the most complex jobs as Head of Marketing. It’s a lot of weight on your shoulders to get it right. And, it’s a living breathing thing isn’t it?
“Yes! And everyone will have their own interpretation of what it “should” look like, feel like and sound like, so when you’re doing these things people will say, “Oh, I wasn’t expecting that.” But I think we’re really close to it now. I think everyone who’s had a sneak peek of the visualisation work we’ve done or the tone of voice, everyone has got on board with it really quickly and it resonates with them. And it’s a big thing to get right! It gives us the flexibility to evolve and grow. I mean, the product and service are always evolving, and this gives us much more flexibility in the market where people are starting to recognise what Canvas is, and it makes us more meaningful as a name and as a brand.”
So, how would you describe Canvas in three words?
“Authentic. Professional. Homely. I think they touch on each other. There’s a fluidity there where we are professionalising Canvas but it’s not corporate and rigid. You get a warmth from it. Coming from a family business, we still have that essence in there, and I think that comes through in the brand work. From working with the co-founders on the ideologies to understand the foundations of where Canvas comes from, I think that’s all carried through really nicely.”
People I’ve met from Canvas (colleagues and clients) have said similar things, especially the ‘family feel’ you mentioned. It seems to be a real pull for people. The way the brothers have drawn on influences from SoHo House and a kind of ‘club feel’, blending that with a homely, yet professional environment is no mean feat. So, have you shared the brand work with any clients as yet?
“We’ve started to, but quite softly across some of our touch points like social media, signage around the office, and some of our broker comms, using the new colour palette and typography. No big launch as such. We’ll be taking everyone through it internally at the next town hall including the work on the new values and the visual side of the brand too.”
Can you tell me a bit about some of the more unexpected things you’ve done at Canvas?
“I think marketing is a touch point for every other department, facilitating and helping the teams with whatever they need to achieve, whether it’s strategy or collateral or whatever. I work closely with the two Co-Founders, Yaron and Oren, and they always have ideas, especially Ron. He has that creative mind so there’s a lot of work on the brand where Ron’s heavily involved, as well as his personal branding within Canvas as it grows.
Bringing through his eye for art and his personal creations like the Jackson Pollock-style artwork we have around the buildings at St. John’s Lane and Luke Street. It’s a fun thing to do but it also connects to our product. That’s maybe a more unexpected element of the role, coming into the office and needing to set up cameras to do some filming, or the more creative ideas when we’re opening new buildings and the more Guerilla style marketing ideas can be quite ‘out there’ – it can be pretty interesting at times.” He says with a mischievous glint in his eye.
What makes you get up in the morning when you’re coming into work and what makes you stay at Canvas?
“From a marketing point of view, excuse the pun, but it’s been a bit of a Blank Canvas. It’s been very challenging and hard at times being both strategic and honed in on execution. Designing an overview of what we’re doing as a business but also having to get stuck in and working in a small team. I mean there’s only two of us, and I think the output of what we do is quite big. We wear a lot of different hats. The wider team is great, too, and I love working with the different departments.
I think the people of Canvas are really what make Canvas, and they’re one of the big reasons I enjoy coming to work. Plus, we get to practice what we preach. We create offices that feel like home, which we have done for ourselves as well as our clients. It’s a great office space, it’s a friendly atmosphere.
“It’s beneficial we can use all the different buildings, so the actual product makes it nice coming into the office not just the role itself. The challenge of what’s to come with the growth and what we’re trying to achieve, there’s lots still to be done. I’m driving the website project at the moment, set to launch next year, and obviously, the look and feel of the brand, being trusted to develop and carry that forward it’s an amazing thing to be able to do.
What’s been the biggest challenge since you started?
“I think coming in at a time when change was on the horizon or already in motion to be fair. This was a change with the team, the product and processes, so not small things. A term which i’ve now come to understand is, it’s like flying a plane without it being fully built yet. In marketing is was about getting the right building blocks in place, which we’re now seeing the true benefit from.”
“There’s also lot of big personalities. It’s part of what makes the company great, but I’ve come in at a certain point and I think you have to work on the trust first of all. It’s about understanding the personalities and how to present things in the right way. We’re all working towards the same goal and we all want the best for the company, so it’s about having that open dialogue. We talk about ‘challenge then collaborate’, one of the founding ideologies behind the brand values, which means we can have those conversations in a positive way. And when you can have those open conversations with senior management, or any of the team, all the way up and down the company, it makes things way easier.”
So people are one of the things that makes you get up in the morning, but it’s also one of the biggest challenges, too?
He laughs, “Yeah, I guess so! But having that openness and even being able to challenge each other and everyone being open to pushback, to learn or hear new ideas, I think it’s something you might not get at other companies.
In all this stuff you’ve done, in a pretty short space of time, what’s been your standout moment?
“I think from a visual point of view, we’ve taken all our collateral to a whole new level, which maybe in the past, hasn’t had the full attention it deserves, whereas now we think much more about the customer journey and where everything fits in. Releasing our first proper brochure for 321 Oxford Street which was much more design-led, that was really a first for us—experimenting with different signage, opening up different buildings, and having these transitional ‘before and after’ videos. We talk about the story behind buildings and their authenticity you know, and we’ll take them, often from a derelict state to a finished product, and when that’s delivered and you’ve got the video to a visual point of view, I think those elements, whether it’s been drone footage, the video transitions, collateral, or signage I think that’s definitely been stepped up.
“One of the things I’m most proud of, again going back to people, is bringing in external people who have the extra skills we need. We’re a small team, but our output is really high considering. Also, we’ve got trusted people, Ron calls them ‘levers’, who we can lean on. I brought a lot of these people in and built a team. Trusted people who’ve helped us deliver high-quality work and I think that’s a skill in itself. It’s something I’m certainly proud of. I’d say everyone we’ve brought in has been a success and that’s no easy feat. And we’ve done some of these things in a really quick turnaround. We’ve delivered a couple of buildings now it’s certainly been a learning curve. It’s been a journey!
Ok, we’re going to move on to some quick fire questions now… are you ready?
“Yep! Hit me!”
What superhero would you be and why?
“Argh, that’s a tough question. I think I’d say Batman you know. He’s pretty mysterious. He’s not a full-on superhero, with super powers, but he’s got the gadgets. He’s one of the people. The suit’s not too cringy either is it?”
What’s your go-to Karaoke song?
“I think you’ve got to go big and bold, and also murder the songs a little bit, and if you ever need someone who can murder a bit of Bublé that would probably be me. The one where he comes in with the big notes… Cry Me A River!”
OK, dead, alive, or fictional who would you take out to dinner and where would you go?
“I don’t know if it’s because I just watched Planet 3 last night but, maybe Sir David Attenborough. I mean, the stories he could tell!”
That’s a big shout – where would you take Attenborough though?
“I’d go Sri Lankan I reckon. There’s a lot of culture in there, lots of tasty food and he could probably tell me some stories about his experiences there.”
If you could go back in time to witness an event, what would it be?
“Wow. Ok, I’m going to keep it light hearted and on the music theme here. I never got the chance to see Fleetwood Mac, especially when they were all together. So, something like that… Maybe at a festival, that would be amazing.”
What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
“Ah, that’s a tricky question. It’s probably something my two-year-old said. It was her birthday not so long ago, and we went to Colchester Zoo. There were these golden monkeys and right next to them were these chimps. And she was telling me, super serious, with this thing she does with her face, it’s hysterical…“I like golden monkeys, daddy… BUT NOT THE CHIMPS!” Pointing and wagging her finger with so much attitude. She’s such a big character now, it’s like she’s 2 going on 13!
Where’s the last place you went that took your breath away in a good way?
“One place where I go to reset is the Lake District. We have family there, and whether we go at Easter time or in October when the leaves are changing from those golden yellow colours to the burnt oranges, we always go for a walk, mentally reset, and get close to nature. We see a bit of everything. You’ve got the fells, all the mountains and lakes and it feels like you’re reconnecting. When you’re up on the fells looking down over the golden canopy of trees, it really is spectacular.”
Anywhere in particular?
“Ullswater or anywhere a bit more north, getting out of the touristy bits. It’s always good to tick off one of the Wainwright walks too. A good walk and a pub with all the ‘snorky’ smells. That’s definitely not a word, but it’s very descriptive and you know what I mean don’t you!
What’s the last piece of music you listened to?
“On the Fleetwood Mac vibe, recently I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from Daisy Jones and The Six from Netflix. I think it’s loosely based around a Fleetwood Mac vibe, and actually, the soundtrack is really good. There’s some good songs on there – there’s one called ‘The River’ that’s very Fleetwood!”
Canvas is growing. And fast. If you’re seriously self-motivated, have a passion for people, and think you have what it takes to join the team, come and talk to us today.