Target Precision

A professionally designed identity helps communicate the “new you” when entering into new markets.


When Target Sports looked to diversify for growth, not only did they need a new name but also a new identity to help add credibility to their intent.

Key IssuesResults
  • Diversification into new markets
  • Demanding purchasing criteria in key markets
  • Distinction between the existing company and the new venture
  • Greater awareness in the market place
  • Highly effective direct mail
  • Increased turnover from £30k to £450k

 “a professionally designed identity would instill confidence in the market place and open up new opportunities”

Business: Target Precision
Design Company: Griib Design
Business Type: Manufacturing
- Turned Components
Employees: 10
Founded: 2000
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Prior to design process: £30,000
After design process: £450,000

Business Background

Target Sports have been manufacturing darts for over 30 years, becoming one of the leading companies in its field. If you’ve ever played the game yourself, chances are that you would have used “Target” darts.

In 2000, working with a Business Link for Essex adviser, Managing Director, Garry Plummer, identified an opportunity to diversify the business by moving into the manufacture of turned (or CNCed) components.

“We already had the machinery and the skills so it seemed a logical step” Garry remembers.

Target Precision was thus established, and started to manufacture a wide range of components for a wide range of industries including defence, medical and IT.

Identifying the need for design

The markets in which Target were now operating demanded far higher quality standards than that for the manufactured darts. They clearly had to separate themselves totally from the “Sports” division to avoid any perception that they weren’t up to the job.

Additionally, whilst competition wasn’t particularly fierce, they were pitting themselves against long-established companies with good reputations and relationships. The adviser suggested that to tackle this, they needed to stand out and a professionally designed identity would go a long way in dealing effectively with this.

“During this time, we were going through the process of attaining ISO accreditation and realised that combining this with a professionally designed identity would instill confidence in the market place and open up new opportunities to go after bigger contracts”.

Design management

Business Link for Essex provided a design management adviser to help them consider the management of different aspects of design, they were taken through the basic issues involved in undertaking a success fuldesign project.

Develop an outline design brief
The design management adviser helped Garry and his team to develop an effective design project, the initial outcome being the creation of an outline design brief although the process itself was the most important part.

Strategic review
The business strategy was reviewed, particularly in relation to it objectives and this was used to develop a design strategy, thinking through the personality of the company or products, the target market and how it would differentiate itself from its competitors.

Identifying the competitive edge
Extensive discussions took place with a variety of members from the company to draw out distinctive differences that would enable a designer to develop an identity that truly represented the company, clearly demonstrating its competitive edge. The outline design brief brought these together with the scope of the project, which identified the specific items to be designed.

Designer shortlist
Once this brief had been developed a short list of appropriate designers was identified. Each was given the brief prior to attending a credentials pitch, an appointment where the designers present their portfolio of work, hear about the client’s business and discuss the project. The designers were then asked to put together a costed proposal, which described the approach they would take to the project.

Commence the design project
The design project then began with a meeting with the chosen designer, Andy Griib of Griib Design, to agree in detail the brief for the project.

The rationale

Target’s market is specifically engineers, a group not noted for its tolerance of lengthy sales prose. The brochure had to get the message across quickly and succinctly yet communicate the key virtues of the company, distinguishing them from the competition.

During the process of developing the outline brief it was decided that the most effective way to demonstratethe company’s skills was to show potential customers an example of their work. A tiny chess piece (the King) was thought of to demonstrate Target’s “one-hit” machining without showing a specific component.

Griib designed a modern logo and developed the chess theme throughout the literature. The King together with a branded drinks coaster as a chessboard was to prove hugely successful in a mailing campaign.

Initially just 25 mailers were sent out yet one new customer responded almost the moment it landed on their desk, followed shortly after by another three. This approach will be part of their promotional activity for the foreseeable future as they continue to expand into new, ever more challenging sectors.

The results

Their identity compares highly favourably with that of their competitors, increasing their confidence in hunting down those more lucrative contracts. Growth was impressive; allowing them to invest in new, high-spec machinery widening the range of products they could produce. To give you an idea of the skills they provide: one item produced is a component for ahigh speed drilling unit. It’s so small that the bore that runs through its centre is barely large enough for a human hair.

As with all business, everything comes back to the bottom line and for Target Precision, turning over just £30,000 prior to the launch of the design, increasing this to £450,000 since is proof that professional design remains very much an investment.

Such has been the success of the design for Target Precision, Garry is now applying the same processes and principals to Target Sports.

They SayWe Say
Listen to the designers Given that design is an important part of the management process, theadvice they give is intrinsic to the ultimate success of your business.They are skilled, professional people so take the time to listen carefully.
Seek advice If you have never gone through the design process before, it is criticalthat you seek professional advice from organisations such as BusinessLink for Essex or the Designers Network. Calling in designers selected atrandom is unlikely to yield good results.
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