Tag Archives: culture

Building the TLA Brand

The Challenge

In Late 2019 our team was challenged to rebrand The Lead Agency (TLA), to coincide with its 18th birthday, in February 2020. After years of growth and increasing work on the product base, TLA needed a brand that represented the evolution of our ecosystem and a fresh visual language. The goal was to reflect the team and the TLA spirit within a modern brand identity.

“We spent a lot of time talking to team members who had seen the brand evolve from a small business to a large corporation. It was important that we understood the journey of the brand, so we could put forward concepts that were reflective of a proud past, but strategies that looked towards a brighter future.” 

Jonny Kimber, Lead UX/UI Designer of TLA

The Process

The design team ran a double diamond process to deliver the overall brief. This four-step process (discover, define, design, deliver) is a problem-solving framework used by teams across the world to reach a desired solution. The team kicked off with a discovery phase — crucial to allow the team time to process the brief and provide purpose and direction. The intensive research period included staff surveys, stakeholder interviews and workshops to understand existing assets.

In the second stage of the double diamond process – the definition phase – consisted of filtering through the information received from the discovery phase and elaborating on this, pulling data apart and synthesising information. This crystallised direction for the team and gave intent to deliver the brief whilst finalising mission, vision, values and more.

The third phase of the project – the design phase – started with hand-drawn concepts informed by the entire journey so far. The designs were kept simple until strong ideas started to emerge, which is when the team starting delivering computer concepts in colour and detail. The only rule at this stage was ‘No idea is a bad idea’. The final deliverable at this stage was a presentation to senior stakeholders to choose the new brand identity.


The final stage was the delivery phase and with a brand identity chosen, the team started to roll out the new visual language to print and digital touch-points, along with communicating the new vision to the rest of the business. This is where the fun really starts, as care needs to be taken to ensure the team launches the best possible version of the concept and in a timely manner. Elements covered are touchpoints – website, email signatures and customer-facing collateral.

“The team are thrilled with the new brand and the past 4 months has been such a journey for us. We’ve had many late nights, lots of coffee-runs and a lot of hard decisions to make but they’ve been offset by those amazing ‘a-ha moments’ that designers live for… It has all been worth it! We now have a modern brand that does justice to our 18 years in the automotive space. This truly is the start of a new chapter for TLA.”

Jonny Kimber, Lead UX/UI Designer of TLA

Meet our Future Leaders!

At TLA we believe that the opportunity for growth and leadership should be offered across the business.

From management to recent graduates, we firmly believe in equality of opportunity.

We also respect that there are different forms and ways that leadership can make a difference in life and work.

That is why the future leadership programme has been introduced, to support our colleagues that will benefit from expert training and mentorship to help their growth into leadership roles.

Say hello to our first cohort!

Richard Royes – Sales Team Leader
Duration at TLA: 4 Years
Initially I wasn’t going to do the course as I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the reading side or if it was going to be to academic but Steve straight made it clear that it’s a programme that will help you learn you put in as much effort as you want to get as much as you want out of it.
Having not really given it my all school/college etc I wanted to prove to myself that if I put my mind to something, I can do it.

Danielle Smith – Systems Developer
Duration at TLA: 5 Years
when you come into work you are mainly focused on your own role and the team you are part of. By taking part in the FLP it allows me to gain a wider understanding of business as a whole and all of the other parts that make up the business instead of being just in the Dev bubble. The FLP provides this through many different modules in the course from project management, finance, entrepreneurial leadership and what it takes to become a leader. The course requires lots of research, presentations, coursework and group discussions to feedback findings to the group. I thought it would be a great challenge as you can gain out of this course as much as you want so it’s all about pushing yourself.

Amy Smith – Campaign Manager
Duration at TLA: 9 Years
I am excited to learn more about myself and how I can become better in my role. It is a privilege to be accepted onto the course and I want to use what I learn on the future leaders course to improve all aspects of my job and hopefully progress further within TLA.

Joshua Duxbury – Senior Software Developer
Duration at TLA: 3 Years
I’ve only just started on the future leaders program, but already it has given me a big insight into a different way of thinking and approaching from an entrepreneurial point of view. There is a lot of self learning, I’ve enjoyed reading the challenges faced by Philip Knight (Shoe Dog) and Steve Jobs. I’ve received great feedback on how to improve on my presentation skills and i’m looking forward to the next module around “What differentiates a high performance team”. I feel the program will enhance my skills for presenting at Dot Net Liverpool and allow me to be a better leader within my team.

Jonny Kimber – Lead UX / UI Designer
Duration at TLA: 2 Years
I’m really excited for the high performing teams module of the course. As a relatively new team at TLA we want to ensure we’re having the biggest impact on the company and working on the most significant briefs. We’ve got a pretty good infrastructure already but it’s always good to learn ways to improve!

Graham Fyfe – Sales Manager
Duration at TLA: 8 Years
Looking forward to learning as much as I can during the FLP. Hopefully, the knowledge I gain can be a benefit not just to myself but to the TLA.

Kristian Brown – Email Marketing Manager
Duration at TLA: 5 Years
Looking forward to learning new skills that will help me become a better digital marketer and contribute even more to the future growth and success of TLA.

Mike Jones – Sales Team Manager
Duration at TLA: 10 Years
I love learning new things and applying them to everything I do so this course is perfect for me. I am finding myself changing the way I think and the way I look at new situations. I am most looking forward to the High Performing Teams Module as it applies most to me and my role within the TLA.

TLA receives accreditation as Living Wage Employer

We are pleased to announce that The Lead Agency (TLA) has been officially accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

The certification acknowledges a company’s commitment to voluntarily pay all members of staff a higher rate of pay (based on the real cost of living) than the government-set minimum wage and national living wage.

The accreditation is given by the Living Wage Foundation, an organisation that is leading an independent movement to ensure a hard day’s work receives a fair day’s pay. It does so by celebrating and recognising companies and leader who choose to pay more than the government minimum.

The Foundation highlights that the Real Living Wage, based on what people over the age of 18 need to live, is £9.30 per hour across the UK and £10.75 in London. By comparison, the minimum wage is £7.70 (for people aged 21-24) and £8.21 (for people over 25) with no additional weighting for London.

Having met all required criteria, TLA joins 6,000 UK companies accredited with Living Wage Employer status. Others include Everton and Liverpool FC, Accenture, Ikea, KPMG, Aviva and Nationwide.

To view our current vacancies, please visit Careers.

Lessons from Silicon Valley: Where do great ideas come from?

How do Silicon Valley companies consistently produce successful, innovative ideas?

Stanford School of Business’s professor of marketing Jonathan Levav will visit Liverpool on Friday 8 November to discuss the patterns of innovation used by California’s most prolific tech companies.

Taking place at Hope Street Hotel, the event will see Jonathan discuss the findings of his extensive research based on the university’s close-working relationship Silicon Valley. He’ll reveal how it takes a structured, inside-the-box approach to consistently produce great ideas.

Having met Jonathan at a week-long event at Stanford last year, we were immediately struck by his level of insight. Along with our fellow sponsors Growth Platform, Brabners and RSM UK, we will be flying Jonathan over to share his ideas with Liverpool businesses.

If you aspire to disrupt an established market or avoid being left behind by the competition, this event is not to be missed.

With a limited number of tickets available, please visit Eventbrite to secure your place.

Silicon Valley event in Liverpool

About Jonathan

Jonathan’s research focuses on understanding the judgments and choices of consumers by using tools from experimental psychology and behavioural economics. His studies into the contextual factors that influence people’s choices and judgments was the subject of his engaging TEDx talk in 2013.

Working with the university has also seen Jonathan work closely with Silicon Valley, where he has identified the repeatable patterns that are being used by the world’s most innovative businesses to consistently produce great ideas. Contrary to the belief that it centres on outside-the-box thinking and a blank canvas, he found that consistent creativity requires a more structured, inside-the-box approach.

Jonathan received his PhD in marketing from the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and his A.B. in public and international affairs from Princeton University. He is the winner of the Hillel Einhorn Young Investigator Award, awarded biennially by the Society for Judgment and Decision-Making.

TLA Book Club: Andreas Antonopolous – Mastering Bitcoin

The latest in our series of summaries from the TLA Book Club is in. Thank you to TLA developer and Dot Net Liverpool founder Joshua Duxbury, who has shared his thoughts on Mastering Bitcoin.

Our growing collection in the TLA Book Club has been introduced as part of our ongoing commitment to support and encourage self-improvement throughout the business. Find out Joshua’s take on ‘Mastering Bitcoin’ below.

1.What have you been reading?

Just finished Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos

2.What was the book about?

An in depth look at how bitcoin works internally and how everything from encryption to consensus rules work on a decentralized network.

3. What were the key takeaways/learnings?

Understanding what elliptic curve cryptography is. How bitcoin auto manages and configures the difficulty of blocks being mined

And why the blockchain is so secure and the potential risks of attacks on the network.

4. Who would enjoy reading it?

Anyone with an interest in decentralised networks and overcoming issues. IT users who want to start mining bitcoins and want to understand where to begin. Intermediates who want that next level understanding of how the blockchain fundamentally works

And programmers who want to create DAPPS and smart contracts on an immutable network.

What have you read lately? Let us know what has inspired you and we’ll add it to the TLA library.

Ironman Italy challenge up next for TLA

We’re no stranger to setting ourselves and working towards ambitious challenges. It’s part of our DNA, and this weekend is a case in point.

Five TLA teammates will be taking part in Ironman Italy on Saturday, a triathlon like no other. Anton, Tom, Neil, Abel and Joshua will take in the breathtakingly beautiful and historic scenery of Cervia, just off the Emilia-Romagna coast – one of Italy’s most famous regions for art, nature and food.

Our team have been training hard, even swimming in the Mersey as part of their training, to ensure they’re ready for what Italy’s only Ironman challenge has to offer. The challenge begins in Romagna with a 3.8km swim, before each athlete cycles 180km through the Natural Park of Salt Pens of Cervia and finally completes a marathon taking in the region’s most prominent landmarks.

The event is the latest in a series of charity events being planned as part of a commitment to raise money for mental health charity NABS.

Check out the TLA LinkedIn page on Monday to see photos of the event.

My Summer internship with TLA – Gabriella Dixon

This summer we were delighted to be joined by Gabriella Dixon on a three-month B2B marketing internship ahead of her final year at university. Here’s what she had to say about her experience and learnings from TLA.

“As a Business Management with Marketing student, I was on a mission to find an opportunity that would help me get my foot in the door to prepare me for when I leave University.

After struggling to find any appropriate advertised positions, I decided to reach out to several companies in hope of securing myself a summer internship. I was hoping for an internship which would allow me to learn and develop my skills and knowledge while being able to explore a potential career path and get a feel for what the industry is like.

In June, I was grateful and thrilled for the opportunity to join The Lead Agency as a B2B Marketing Intern.

The past three months have flown by. I’ve learnt so much and will take away some really valuable life lessons and advice. From the day I started I was made to feel so welcome and instantly felt like part of the team. Everyone is super lovely and supportive.

During my first week here I was taught about the company’s work culture and core values, something they really do live up to. There is a positive atmosphere and everyone’s very open and honest. There is a really strong work ethic here and everyone is really focused, committed and dedicated to their roles. I have found this truly inspiring and a pleasure to be around.

Celebrating women in tech

So, what have I been up to? I have been involved in lots of different projects, tasks and opportunities. One of the biggest has been working on our Celebrating Women in Tech and Marketing campaign – a content series that ran across TLA’s website and content channels.

I undertook research to explore the current state of the industry and the underrepresentation of women in the UK tech industry. We believed the journeys of the women here at TLA were worth sharing with other women who are considering a career in the industry, so create a content plan that would allow us to get their stories out.

As part of the campaign, I organised and ran my first round-table discussion featuring 12 female TLA employees. I prepared the questions and a short series of slides to facilitate the event. That session allowed us to understand the experiences of women in the tech and marketing industry, their route to TLA and the female role models that inspire them.

We created a series of articles over a six-week period and I took ownership of pushing these out on TLA’s social platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, generating positive engagement. I also managed other social media content during my three-month placement, covering job vacancies, charity press releases (particularly TLA’s work with NABS), employee Q&As, book reviews and highlights from our ‘brown bag’ lunches.

SEO learnings

Away from content, I’ve learnt about other aspects of B2B marketing, including email marketing, PPC and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). For the latter, I undertook a vast amount of research into the different aspects of SEO and presented my findings back to the team. That’s an area I’m keen to learn more about in the future.

I’m excited to take all that I’ve learnt over the past three months and progress further. It has been a great way to learn and develop as well as gaining commercial experience. I’ve met so many amazing, talented people and have loved my time at TLA.”

Gabriella Dixon

If you’ve got a question for the TLA team or want to know more about what makes us tick, why not get in touch?

Five minutes with… TLA Head of Quality and Compliance Kathy Fleming

Following on from our Celebrating Women in Tech and Marketing round-table, we sat down with head of quality and compliance Kathy Fleming for a quick-fire Q&A session.

What’s your role and the role of your department at TLA?

Head of Quality & Compliance (including responsibility as the Data Protection Officer). The department is responsible for call monitoring and coaching. I have overall responsibility for FCA Compliance and one of the leads for the ISO27001 certification.

What do you believe has been the most important change to this industry over the last 5 years and why?

The new data protection law has undoubtedly had an impact on how consumer data is handled. Working with high profile clients puts us in a position of trust and it’s our responsibility to demonstrate our commitment to GDPR compliance. We must be able to demonstrate transparency and integrity in what we do, putting customers information rights at the heart of the service we are providing.

What changes do you think we’ll see in the next 5 years and what long-term impact will they have?

Better use of intelligent data (tracking data) which will help inform us and provide insights into consumer behaviour. Whilst this data will be valuable, there are certainly some compliance considerations that must be at the forefront of this activity.

What excites you most about the industry?

The development of systems to enhance what we already do – in particular the way in which TLA can evolve to become more diverse.

What aspect of your work or profession are you particularly passionate about?

Making sure that we operate with integrity in all of our interactions with customers – a DPO should act as the conscience of the organisation.

Where do you go for inspiration or to learn?

I attend a quarterly data protection networking meetings which is a great forum for sharing good practice with people in similar roles across different sectors.

Which entrepreneurs do you admire and why?

Our CEO Anton Hanley – because of his passion and tenacity.

What advice can you offer the next generation of women considering their future career?

Believe in yourself, have confidence in your ability and use every opportunity to improve and gain experience.

If you’ve got a question for the TLA team or want to know more about what makes us tick, why not get in touch?

TLA Book Club: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Welcome back to The Lead Agency’s Book Club! As part of our series of five-minute book reviews, head of data insights Antony Neill looks at Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.

Our growing collection of titles on business, leadership, tech, marketing and more has been introduced to help people learn and grow both in and outside of their roles as part of our ongoing commitment to support and encourage self-improvement throughout the business.

1. What was the book about?

It is a biography of technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, covering his childhood in South Africa all the way to up to his current standing as owner of three of the world’s most forward-facing, innovative companies – Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity. It delves, in some detail, into the various legal and political battles that Musk has had in driving his ventures to become what they are today, including his fight for control of PayPal (of which he was also a founder) and a number of scrapes with bankruptcy at both Tesla and SpaceX.

The book paints Musk as a ruthless visionary that will do anything it takes to deliver what he thinks is important – in this case, the sustainability of the human race, delivered through clean energy and space exploration. His ultimate goal is for humans to colonise Mars, which he recognises may come after his time on the planet, yet is committed to doing everything he can to make it happen anyway.

2. What were the key takeaways/learnings?

The way that Musk runs his businesses is both inspiring and a little terrifying. Both Tesla and SpaceX entered their respective industries as very small fish in very big ponds; Tesla faced competition from established automotive brands with global presence, while SpaceX sought to compete directly with Lockheed Martin, Boeing and even NASA itself. Despite the odds being stacked against them, Musk insisted that each company should do 90% of their manufacturing in the USA and drive cost efficiencies from home. As a result of a constant drive to do things faster and cheaper, using an MVP approach on a very large scale, Tesla was able to produce revolutionary battery technology at volume, and SpaceX was able to manufacture a space-faring rocket for the ISS at 10% of the cost of its competitors! The main learning here is: conventional wisdom is not always correct, and pushing in the right areas can deliver amazing results. Cost and quality don’t have to be trade-offs.

3. Who would enjoy reading it?

Anybody with an active interest in technology, the technology business, silicon valley politics or the future of the human race!

What have you read lately? Let us know what has inspired you and we’ll add it to the TLA library.

Celebrating women in tech and marketing (part four)

Here’s part four of our round-table discussion with some of the female members of the TLA team. (Read parts one, two and three if you missed out).

We close off with the advice our group have for other women who are interested in being part of the tech or marketing industry.

Abigail Hanson, senior quality and compliance executive: “Just go for it. Whatever ‘it’ might be. Don’t let anyone hold you back and only surround yourself with positive, supportive people.”

Alison Eustace, senior quality and compliance executive: “Don’t be intimidated in any way just because you’re part of a largely male dominated field.”

Kathy Fleming, head of quality and compliance: “Believe in yourself, have confidence in your ability and use every opportunity to improve and gain experience.”

Amy Smith, account manager: “Don’t panic if you don’t have a career plan!”

Amara Molloy, graduate PPC executive: “Just go for it! I don’t believe in just settling for something you think you deserve; push yourself beyond that even if you have to work twice as hard or make sacrifices for long-term success it’s worth it. Also, don’t doubt yourself, not everyone knows everything, but it can be easily learned. My Irish side is coming out here but… what’s for you won’t pass you!”

Danielle Smith, developer: “Just go for it. If you have a passion and interest in tech, follow it through. Just have confidence in yourself and be eager to learn. I never thought I’d be a developer; I always thought I’d be a teacher or something. But I’ve always had an interest in IT, so if you’ve got a passion for something then make it happen.”

Emily Abbey, junior project manager: “What I always tell my children – “a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”. Don’t be afraid to build yourself and others up, but remember to be genuine, gracious and generous as you work your way towards your goals. And, once you’re part of the industry, find a girl gang!”

Shania Corbishley, student placement (developer): “Although still quite male dominant, the industry is becoming more diverse. There are a lot of female devs in the industry. Stick to your dreams. If you want to be involved in tech then do it and don’t let people try put you off.”

Miki Parr, performance analyst: “If you are passionate about something, do it no matter what it is. Use that passion to encourage and enthuse others. It only takes one person to change the status quo… so why not you?”

Rachel Hellon, marketing executive: “Because the industry is so fast-paced, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you first start. My advice would be to get stuck in, don’t panic about keeping up because you’ll get used to the pace and never doubt yourself.”

Shannon Miller, developer: “Speak up when you have an opinion and challenge people on their ideas, try not to feel too intimidated, be open to learning from others in the team and don’t doubt yourself if it’s the job you know you enjoy and want to do and learn then stick with it.”

Irina Ashakhanova, account manager: “Pursue your true passion regardless of the demographics and feel empowered by being the only girl in the room – it is an opportunity to bring something new to the table, rather than a shortcoming.”

It can be daunting starting any new industry, let alone one that has a reputation for being bias towards a certain gender. But there are more and more businesses making big commitments to address that bias or simply create cultures that women can thrive in. To borrow a phrase mentioned a few times above, if it’s what you want, just go for it.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this four-part article and found some value in the advice offered above. Keep your eyes peeled for more articles from TLA in the coming weeks celebrating women in tech and marketing. Follow us on LinkedIn to keep tabs on what’s on our mind.