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Growing Up and Moving Out

Standing Out from the Crowd

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In most markets, being unique and separating your business from your competitors is extremely important in order to be able to succeed. In the web design niche, this is especially pertinent.

The Internet has seen a global shift in the way business is done. Paperwork is now considered-old fashioned and people are using technology for almost everything. The result is that every man and his dog is trying to take advantage by entering the web development market, creating one of the most saturated niches in the current business world.

I am one of those people. For years, my partner and I ran a "web & design business", where we picked up the odd design job from friends or relatives but never really got many prospects on our own. We have realised how difficult it is to stand out above our more established competitors and last year we decided to take a serious look at our business and analyse what we could be doing better.

The result? A completely new business, complete with new name, image and - most importantly - new thought process.
We realised that we were simply drifting along and not making any impact in the market. Briefly, we identified the following weaknesses in our business model:

  • We had no target market, or niche within the web design niche. This meant we were just another business targeting "people who want a website" or "people who want logos".
  • There was absolutely NO reason for people to remember us! We were average and boring and if I were you, I wouldn't have remembered us.
  • We had no USP (Unique Selling Point). Nothing that made us any different from any of our competitors. We were offering the same things as thousands of other designers, and we probably had less experience and were not as good at what we did as many of them.

After weeks of deliberation, Red Giant Design Studio was born. A new business with a new take on things. We have and are continuously trying to implement techniques and attitudes in order to stand out from the crowd.

We approached the weaknesses in our business model as follows:

Targeting a niche

As Red Giant Design Studio, we have decided to target a niche that we can relate well to, one that we are passionate about - The small business & entrepreneurial niche. We adapted all of our marketing efforts and image into one that is likely to resonate well with people in that particular niche.

The results are astounding! By centering all our efforts around a particular segment of the design market, we have found that people within that niche are a lot more likely to identify with us and that, after all, is what marketing is all about. Once people can identify with us and share similar ideas and passions, they are far more likely to remember and use our business. In turn, by working with people who we can identify with, we find that we produce work of a considerably higher standard.

My suggestion to anybody in a competitive niche then, is this: Find a particular segment of that niche that you can identify with and have an interest in. Target this particular niche aggressively by adapting your marketing efforts to appeal to them. You can't serve everybody, nor do you need to try to. If you can provide a great service/product to a select group of people, those people will become loyal to your business and are likely to give you more business than you can handle.

Branding that people remember

To be quite frank. We were bored with ourselves and our business. And if we were thought we were boring, I can only imagine what other people thought!

We tackled this by creating a fresh and exciting brand centered around a character that people can recognise. We also put more thought into developing the concept of Red Giant. It has gotten to the point where it is taking on a life of its own. Red Giant is not just a vehicle for making money. There are attitudes and traits that are associated with the brand that spark excitement and intrigue within ourselves and hopefully within others.

Furthermore, we spent weeks brainstorming and developing our corporate image. We tried our best to design a logo that was both modern and relevant. Our hope was to create a "Wow!" reaction when presenting a prospect with a business card, with the goal being to provoke questions on the design thereof. I can tell you that this is working extremely well for us so far, but the business card design is a post all on it's own!

Personally, I am extremely motivated and excited when a concept or design that I have developed is received well by somebody. My advice is to create a brand and image that you are proud of and that excites YOU! People tend to respond well to positive emotions. If you think your brand is awesome, then your clients are more likely to agree with you.

Creating a USP

Having realised the need to offer something which separated us from our competitors, we responded by coming up with a special offer that is unique to Red Giant.

This special targets our niche specifically and is priced at a ridiculously low price. Our thoughts, at first, were that we were selling ourselves short by doing something like that. Now we realise that we are building our brand and giving the people in our niche a reason to do business with us.

Is there something like this that you could do for your business? What is your USP? I'd strongly suggest that you have one! Offer something that your competitors wouldn't even dream of. Make your target market pay attention to you by offering something different, otherwise your chances of getting their business are greatly reduced.

Ultimately, the major change that we have made as we made the shift to Red Giant, is a change in attitude. We are more excited and more passionate about our business than ever and this has led to only good responses from our customers.

If you feel like your business is drifting along at a below-average rate or you just don't have the motivation to get up everyday for work anymore, perhaps it's time that you make some sort of shift too.

Take a serious look at your business. How are you going to spark new excitement in your business? How are you going to stand out from the crowd?
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Updated 19-Apr-11 at 05:06 PM by Mark Atkinson

Branding , Small Business & Entrepreneurship


  1. Neville Bailey's Avatar
    Thanks for this Mark - I have subscribed to your blog and look forward to your future blogs.

    I can certainly relate to what you are saying, as that is exactly what I am endevouring to do with my consultancy, i.e. to stand out amongst all the other consultants in my field. My USP is to be able to consult remotely with any of my clients, wherever I may be in the world, and wherever my clients may be situated. It's convenience for both parties.

    Have you had a look at my blog? (
    Updated 11-Aug-13 at 08:42 AM by Dave A (fixed link)
  2. Mark Atkinson's Avatar
    Thanks for commenting and subscribing Neville!

    I have had first hand experience with you and your USP is most certainly a good one!

    I did take a quick glance at it when you first announced it. You'll notice I took a bit more of an in depth look now. I do wish you had started blogging here on TFSA, though. It would make a nice convenient addition to my daily TFSA visit.
  3. IanF's Avatar
    I could not find the link to a website, I assume you do have one.
    I have found that customers you gain on price you will lose on price so I hope the low price strategy works for you.
    My USP is adding unique products and one of the most successful is the Kwikfolder. Now the short run die cutting has also taken off.
  4. Mark Atkinson's Avatar
    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for commenting!
    We do have a website but it is undergoing major renovations at the moment. I'll be sure to let everybody know once it's up and running.

    We have found that our major problem is getting the business in the first place (especially in such a saturated market.) Once we have the client they are usually more than happy with our service and tend to keep using us. I think the different nature of our products might also be a contributing factor to our different views on the subject.

    Glad to hear you know what your USP is and that your business seems to be doing well.