Tag Archives: innovation

There is still demand out there from new car buyers

Engaging with up to 600,000 consumers per year across some of the UK’s biggest publishers, TLA is uniquely positioned to monitor consumer behavioural trends.

Antony Neill, Head of Data Insight at TLA, talks through some of the key consumer trends we have observed through our interaction with consumers in the past week.

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.

Hit for six: TLA’s Key Takeaways from Jonathan Levav’s innovation masterclass

On Friday, Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Jonathan Levav hosted an ideas and innovation session in Liverpool attended by some of the city’s most notable creative business.  

Inspired by Silicon Valley, the event was packed with great insights into how companies can consistently and regularly produce great ideas. We asked some of the TLA team who attended the session to share their big takeaways:

1. Psychological needs are a key pillar of consumer choice.

Apple products are not the cheapest in their respective markets. They’re often not the best either, with less features than their rivals. But what they do is satiate the consumers’ psychological desires. The prestige. The presumed ease of use. They make the thought of having an iPhone feel good. – Dan Potter

2. Make what you can sell, don’t sell what you can make.

In product development, there can be a rush to build and ship as many ‘innovative’ features as possible without an understanding as to whether or not they’re actually something that the end user wants to buy. With that approach, businesses risk building a product that is inferior and too complex. And, worst of all, that doesn’t actually solve a need. – Paul Earnden

3. Prepare well to ideate well.

Ideation involves a lot more planning and preparation than you might realise and starts before the actual session. Going for a walk, or even a few drinks(!), beforehand can open up the mind to new possibilities. And having the session on a Friday or at a time when people are more tired, when they self-regulate less, can actually lead to better ideas. – Kristian Brown

4. Follow a process. Constraint breeds creativity.

Ideation is far more successful if there is structure and a clear process to follow. For example, Task unification (where you assign a new task to an existing item (e.g. iPhone case/battery combination); Separation (such as how car radios used to have façade separated from actual radio to prevent theft); Multiplication (like when old combination music systems were swapped out for separates); Attribute Dependency (which involves mapping internal attributes against external attributes/requirements see where additional value can be created); or Brainwriting (which involves writing an idea down on a piece of paper and passing it to the next person to develop further). – Ed Clark

5. Develop your idea before you share. 

Not all ideas need to be developed in collaboration. If you have a vision, sharing it with teammates too early can see it go off in a direction you hadn’t planned or wanted (maybe for the better, maybe not). By developing your idea further in isolation before you share, you can seek the input of others at the point when they can help you bring your vision to life. – Steve Timmis

6. Simplicity leads to innovation.

Perfection is attained not when there’s nothing left to add, but when there’s nothing to take away. Start by making a list of the attributes a product or product type has and experiment with removing them one-by-one. The more simple the solution to your customer’s needs, the better the product will be. – Rachel Hellon

Visit TLA’s LinkedIn account for more feedback on the Jonathan Levav event.

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.

Stanford Professor to run Silicon Valley-inspired Masterclass for media agencies in London

In November, TLA will be hosting an exclusive Marketing Masterclass led by Stanford Business School Professor of Marketing Jonathan Levav.

Having met Jonathan at a week-long event held at Stanford earlier this year, we were immediately struck by the quality of his research and findings – particularly around his work with Silicon Valley, where he’s identified the patterns of innovation used by the most high-profile tech companies in the world.

To coincide with the launch of our brand new customer acquisition platform, we’re flying Jonathan over from California to share his insights and run a one-off idea generation workshop for media agencies and publishers on Monday 11 November (2pm-5pm) at London’s Soho House.

Once he’s unpicked the patterns of innovation used by the Valley’s best, attendees will get chance to put them into practice to generate ideas of their own. This is an event not to be missed!

A limited number of tickets are available, so please email [email protected] to express your interest in the event.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Levav is Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. His 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.

Working with the university has also seen Jonathan work closely with Silicon Valley, where he has identified the repeatable patterns that being used 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 appears in FT 1000 list for second consecutive year

The Lead Agency has been included in the Financial Times’ listing of the 1,000 fastest-growing companies in Europe for the second consecutive year.

With the help of data specialist Statista, the FT 1000 ranks fast-growing businesses from across the continent based on compound annual growth rate in revenue over a four-year period (2014-2017).

With a growth rate of 80.4%, we are delighted to have climbed from 363rd on the list in 2018 to 306th for 2019, placing as the 46th highest-placed UK business.

This recognition comes off the back of three respected tech company league table placings in 2018 as well as our first inclusion in the FT 1000, which has no restrictions on business type. We were named 50th in the The Sunday Times Tech Track 100, 39th in the Deloitte UK Fast 50 and fifth in the Northern Tech 100.

Placing in the FT 1000 for the second successive year is a tremendous achievement for everyone associated with the company, demonstrating our continued growth and success. But it wouldn’t be achievable without the consistently exceptional quality achieved by the TLA team and the continued support, trust and commitment of our clients and partners. We thank you all for helping us to continue our journey and allowing us to be a part of yours.

Top of this year’s ranking is financial services firm Blue Motor Group, which achieved a compound annual growth rate of 701.4%, followed by last year’s number one Deliveroo, which grew by 441.2%. The 1,000th placed company, German business Atheneum Partners, had a growth rate of 37.7%.

2018 in Review: A year to remember for TLA

In 2018, we earned independent recognition, secured new clients, developed cutting-edge technology and raised a significant sum of money for charity. It was a special year for everyone connected with TLA.

2019 is well underway and our focus is firmly on the future, but it would be remiss of us not to recap on some of our biggest achievements of the last 12 months and say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped make them happen.


One of the most pleasing aspects of 2018 was the recognition we received from some of the UK’s biggest and most respected organisations. In the early part of the year, we were named in the Financial Times’ league table of the 1,000 fastest-growing companies in Europe. We featured featuring as the 56th highest-placed UK business in the FT 1000 and 363rd overall.

Soon after, we were invited to the Northern Tech Awards by Tech Nation to discover where we had placed in its Northern Tech 100 table. Our growth rate over the last three years saw us named as the 5th fastest-growing technology business in the North of the UK and the top-ranking company with Liverpool headquarters.

We followed those up with what are arguably the two of the most prestigious tech industry league tables in the country. We were named as the 50th fastest-growing tech company in the UK as part of The Sunday Times’ Tech Track 100 and 38th in Deloitte’s UK Technology Fast 50.

All four represent great recognition of our continued growth and commitment to driving performance through technology.


Regular visitors to the TLA blog will have seen a lot of GDPR-themed content from us over the last 12 months – and with good reason.

As a company that generates, processes and distributes large volumes of consumer data, we have a huge responsibility to make sure we take an ethical and accountable approach. It’s a responsibility we have always taken seriously, but there was no doubting the ground-breaking nature of GDPR, which came into effect in May.

Our proactive approach begun almost two years ago, ensuring company-wide and top-down buy-in and taking decisive action to go beyond the regulation’s requirements. This included updates to processes, policies and technology that have all helped to make us a stronger business and partner to our clients.

The result was a GDPR programme that allowed clients to confidently continue with their lead generation campaigns, generating incremental sales at a critical time. Furthermore, our programme received great publicity, not least of all for the independent endorsement we received from ASE Global.

ASE’s report concluded: “What’s particularly impressive is that the work undertaken by The Lead Agency goes far beyond what the new legislation requires.”

Cutting-edge technology

One of the most exciting things for an employee at TLA is the commitment to continuous improvement. Our value ‘go beyond limits and expectations’ is something you see daily throughout the business as we push to be the best we can be as individuals and collectively.

We never top looking for ways to take our technology to the next level to provide a better service to clients and consumers. And in 2018, that resulted in us launching our new Landing Page Builder, Publisher Portal, Client Portal, Policy Management Portal and Quality Control Portal – all of which have led to improvements across internal processes and client results.

The biggest tech evolution however was our customer acquisition platform, which we’ve been working on over the second half of the year.

Built on the principles of transparency, effectiveness, simplicity and compliance, this new platform will transform how businesses generate incremental sales when it launches in 2019. Watch this space!


We’re passionate about creating opportunity. But it doesn’t end with our clients or staff. We commit to giving back to a worthy cause every year.

In 2018, we set an ambitious target of raising £10,000 for the NSPCC – a fantastic charity that deserves a lot of support. To achieve our goal, TLA and friends took part in a series of mammoth endurance challenges, including the London Marathon, Man v Lakes and a London to Paris Cycle.

We are immensely proud to have raised a whopping £10,450.40 and cannot thank the people who have donated enough. It genuinely means a lot to everyone here.

And finally…

We would like to extend that thank you to everyone who has played a part in what we were able to achieve in 2018 – including our clients, partners, suppliers and teammates. None of it would be possible without your continued trust, support and commitment – and for that we are immensely grateful.

We hope all of you enjoyed a great 2018 year and have made a successful start to the new year. We’re excited to see what it will bring.

TLA named in Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50

We have been named in the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 – the highly-respected ranking of the country’s fastest-growing tech companies.

The league table was unveiled last night at The Leadenhall Building in London, also know as the ‘Cheesegrater’. Joining us in the room were some of the most exciting technology-led businesses the UK has to offer – including Deliveroo, MiQ and CloudIQ.

Having been named in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100, FT 1000 and Northern Tech 100 earlier in the year, Deloitte’s Fast 50 represented another opportunity to cement our status as a leading technology business in our own right. Previous winners include Just Eat, Notonthehighstreet.com and Sky Scanner.

Having grown by more than 600% over the last four years, we were named as the 39th fastest-growing tech company in the UK. Top spot was taken by the now ubiquitous food delivery service Deliveroo, putting us in illustrious company.

The ranking demonstrates our ongoing commitment to pioneering cutting-edge technology in the customer acquisition space, creating valuable opportunities for our clients to grow and succeed.

Anton Hanley, founder and CEO of TLA said: “As a business that helps clients to grow, we’re naturally thrilled that our success and expansion over the last four years has earned us a place in the highly-regarded Deloitte Fast 50. Alongside our other 2018 placings in the Tech Track 100, Northern Tech 100 and FT 1000, this recognition is a great credit to the continuous improvement, innovation and dedication demonstrated by the TLA team.”

Duncan Down, lead partner for the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50, said: “We are now in our third decade of celebrating the country’s fastest-growing technology companies through the UK Fast 50 awards, and the rate of growth continues to impress. The UK start-up scene is in excellent health, with strong access to talent and funding.

“What impresses me most is the rate of growth, with the time from establishment to ‘unicorn’ status continuing to reduce. I would like to personally congratulate all of the winners and entrants for this year’s awards.”

We couldn’t have done any of it without the trust and support of our clients, partners and staff. Thank you.

GDPR in lead generation – how TLA’s proactive approach earned industry and award recognition

A recent study found that only 20% of companies believe they are GDPR compliant, whilst 53% are in the implementation phase. When it comes to working with a lead generation partner, it’s vital that you have confidence and trust in the service you’re receiving.

At TLA, our implementation phase is complete (although we remain committed to making further enhancements on an ongoing basis). We are confident that our services are not only compliant with the new regulation but go far beyond its requirements. And, crucially, we’ve been able to give peace of mind to our clients.

Jess Douce, Jaguar Land Rover: “The Lead Agency is a trusted partner. They’re not only great to work with but they believe in doing things the right way. They provide the highest-quality GDPR compliant client portal that I have used, which helps us to send more leads to our retailers.”

Danielle Hollis, Hyundai: “The Lead Agency team are a long serving partner of Hyundai. They provide good quality GDPR compliant enquiries at scale, which means we sell more cars which helps us to achieve our targets.”

Alban Treglohan, PHD: “TLA delivers transparency, professionalism and obsessive high standards. It’s this excellent service and quality that has furthered our partnership as well as our relationship with our clients.” 

A proactive approach to GDPR

We had a great foundation to start from. We’ve always taken our responsibility to consumers seriously and adhered fully with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. This made our transition to GDPR compliance far smoother than many other businesses in our industry and beyond.

But that’s not to say GDPR didn’t represent a challenge. The new regulation is a landmark moment for all companies, let alone a data company such as ours, so it required a full and comprehensive programme to ensure we were prepared.

Our strategy was to focus on gaining an in-depth understanding of GDPR, be proactive in our approach, take decisive action wherever we could and do everything possible to give consumers and clients peace of mind.

Early activity

Two of the most important steps we took during the planning stage were the appointment of our first dedicated compliance manager; and forming a steering group that involved people from all across the business – including our CEO and CTO.

This buy-in from the very top of the business was particularly important for making GDPR a priority.And having someone dedicated to leading the programme would ensure we never lost focus of what we wanted to do.

We also mapped our current processes and services against the requirements of GDPR to identify areas that needed to be addressed and how we could take TLA to the next level.From there we created an 18-month, action-orientated GDPR programme that detailed enhancements to our policies, technologies and services.

Compliance Portal

The most significant enhancement was building a Compliance Portal – a place where clients could have access to a full and documented audit trail of every step a consumer takes from their initial enquiry through to the lead being delivered directly into their CRM.

This approach not only addressed the need for accountability – one of the new principles of GDPR – but it went far beyond those requirements by offering complete transparency for clients.

Working with clients

Another fundamental step was engaging clients throughout the process – from the planning stage through to progress made with key actions. We consulted a number of clients on the development of the Compliance Portal to make sure it met their core needs as well as adding value to the service we provide.

We also used our website, social channels and email to create content for our clients and partners that broke down some of the key features of GDPR and what actions they could or should be making in preparation.

Independent assessment

With the exception of the regulator, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), there are no official auditors for GDPR compliance. But we wanted to put our programme to the test and make sure it delivered what we wanted it to.

We invited ASE Global, a company that has provided a range of services to the automotive industry for more than 40 years, to conduct an independent GDPR Readiness Assessment.

The result was a glowing endorsement for TLA’s GDPR Programme. Here are some of the key excerpts from ASE’s report:

“There is a clear ‘top-down’ commitment to compliance which drives all associated activities. Internal focus has been on compliance. However, this has been conducted with an eye on the customer, to keep them informed and up to date in as transparent a manner as possible.”

“What’s particularly impressive is that the work undertaken by The Lead Agency goes far beyond what the new legislation requires.”

“Internally, The Lead Agency’s policies are sound, staff are appropriately trained and there is commitment to ensure compliance does not suffer over time. Externally, customers can provide their personal data to the business confident that the processing it is subject to will be compliant.”

Award nomination

This brings us to our recent news. Our GDPR programme has earned us a nomination for Data Pioneer of the Year at the inaugural UK Business Tech Awards.

This is a proud piece of recognition for the commitment we’ve shown and enhancements we’ve made to go beyond GDPR’s requirements and provide consumers and clients with peace of mind.

To maximise your sales performance with a GDPR-compliant service, contact us today.