LEAD Group: Achieving Success with a Straightforward and Effective Approach

20 Leading Companies to Watch in 2024

Building a Legacy Company Means Empowering Your People to Be Owners. For Jeremy Leonard, the CEO and Founder of brand strategy firm LEAD, the traditional corporate hierarchy is antithetical to sustainable success. Instead of power being concentrated at the top, he’s on a mission to systematically distribute ownership throughout his company.

“At the end of the day, my job is to be the custodian of our vision and enable LEAD to thrive long after I’m gone,” Leonard says. “And the best way to ensure that legacy is by making every employee an owner.”

It’s an unconventional philosophy born from Leonard’s own entrepreneurial journey. Prior to launching LEAD, he spent two decades at multinational start-ups, witnessing firsthand how quickly businesses can lose their sense of purpose as they rapidly expand.

“It’s so easy for the very culture and principles that drove early success to become diluted when growth outpaces ownership,” Leonard explains. “I started LEAD to buck that trend.” Currently, Leonard owns 80% of the company, with managing director Jack Shearring holding the remaining 20%. But everyone who comes aboard understands they have a path to personal equity.

“We’re structured so that as we expand and promote from within, I get to distribute more and more ownership stakes,” Leonard says. “My goal is to gradually transfer the majority of LEAD to those who live our vision and values daily.”

The premise is simple – by having skin in the game, employees are monetarily incentivized to protect the company’s culture and prioritize long-term sustainability over short-term gains. It’s the secret sauce behind building a true legacy company. “When you treat people as owners rather than hired hands, they naturally operate with an owner’s mentality,” Leonard states. “Every decision, every output is elevated because their name and net worth are quite literally on the line.”

As he surveys the LEAD empire he’s painstakingly constructed, Leonard exhibits a practiced humility. “This company has never been about me, but about institutionalizing an ideology bigger than any one person.” His eyes narrowed with determination. “Securing LEAD’s future means leaving it in the hands of conscious owners who have been empowered and entrusted to uphold our principles. That’s how you ensure a living, breathing legacy.”

LEAD: Unbiased Solutions for Global Businesses

LEAD partners with multinational companies to optimize their digital marketing operations. They create and implement comprehensive digital models that enhance marketing effectiveness and efficiency. Their focus areas encompass people, processes, technology, and data.  As Jeremy puts it, “We offer everything from digital audits and organizational design to reporting frameworks and stakeholder training.”

The LEAD Difference: Expertise and Implementation

A key differentiator for LEAD lies in its team’s real-world expertise. Unlike many consultancies, LEAD doesn’t just propose changes; it implements them. Clients often seek LEAD’s assistance after receiving recommendations from larger consultancies. LEAD’s team steps in to simplify complex proposals, eliminate impractical elements, and design achievable change strategies.

“There are very few truly impartial digital consultancies globally,” Jeremy asserts. “I’m incredibly proud that LEAD is one of them.”

Defining Success: A Personal Journey

Jeremy views success as a mental state. “Your success is measured by the challenges you set and how you approach them,” he explains. He acknowledges setbacks in his career that forced him to adapt and redefine his path. While these might be considered failures in a conventional sense, they were crucial learning experiences that shaped his current success.

True success, according to Jeremy, lies in self-belief and unwavering optimism, even in challenging times. He emphasizes the importance of teamwork, stating, “If you can build a team that wants to stay with you on your journey, then you must be doing something right. Their belief in you is a huge motivator.”

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Agility and reinvention are at the core of our company culture,” declares Jeremy. Each year, LEAD identifies key challenges their clients might face in the coming year. They analyze past client work and anticipate future hurdles arising from industry shifts. Based on these insights, they develop new service offerings, aiming to be the first to provide solutions.

For instance, LEAD recognized the in-housing trend early on and positioned itself as a leader in offering clients in-housing solutions. Currently, their focus is on optimizing client operating models.

“We’re constantly looking ahead,” the LEAD team states. “We’ll pivot again to develop services that address the next market trend, whatever it may be.”

Building Relationships and Leaving a Legacy

For Jeremy, the greatest satisfaction comes from witnessing the success of former colleagues. He maintains close relationships with mentees and finds immense joy in their achievements. “It’s always about the people you work with and help along the way,” he reiterates.

“Someone I gave their first job in advertising called me to pitch his startup idea,” Jeremy recalls. “Now, I advise him on building and launching his company. That’s the ultimate compliment for me.”

Building Trust and Expanding Reach

Jeremy’s vision is for LEAD to be recognized as the consultancy that delivers realistic solutions, demonstrably improving clients’ digital operations. “We offer practical, unbiased advice that makes sense,” he emphasizes.

LEAD’s team has earned the trust of global brands with their clear communication and focus on tangible results at reasonable fees. Jeremy envisions LEAD as the go-to consultancy for major brands seeking impartial advice and expertise.

The company is currently expanding its successful model by engaging with more prominent brands. They already boast collaborations with industry giants like HSBC, Sony, and Farfetch. Their scalable model allows for rapid and effective expansion.

“Our ability to deliver services in person through regional offices is key,” Jeremy asserts. The nature of their work demands physical proximity to clients to understand their challenges, build trust, and deliver cost-effective solutions. LEAD’s expansion plans include opening offices in Asia and North America within the next five years.

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