Brands Within Brands: The Art of Sub-Branding and Designing for Independent Contractors

For Independent Contractors working under the umbrella of a larger organization, finding the right balance between standing out and adhering to established guidelines can be tricky.

You see them all the time; Real Estate Agents, Financial Planners, Franchise Owners, and the list goes on. These Independent Contractors get the best of both worlds; ownership of their own business without having to sacrifice the benefits of working under a larger organization.

These benefits often include access to resources like corporate stationary and templates for common documents. The trade-off is that these resources usually look like templates, and typically consist of basic white backgrounds with common fonts like Arial or Helvetica, and not much else. 

It's certainly convenient to have these materials ready-made, thus not having to incur the expense yourself. But how do you stand out in a crowd if your collateral looks identical to everyone else's in your company, or even everyone else's in your industry?

 An example of a template-based business card design. Clean and simple, but will it stand out to your potential clients?

An example of a template-based business card design. Clean and simple, but will it stand out to your potential clients?

You might be surprised to learn that you're not always restricted to the materials your parent company provides. In fact, many companies are quite flexible in allowing their Independent Contractors to deviate from their established templates, and sometimes even allow them to create their own "sub-brands".

We've been fortunate enough to work with Sutton Solutions Group to help them craft their own unique brand identity while operating as licensed Sutton Representatives. The process involved working alongside Solutions Group and their parent company, Sutton Group, to develop a visual identity that utilized some existing brand assets while distinguishing them as a unique business entity.

The ongoing project has included everything from the initial custom logo designs for their Residential and I.C.I. divisions, business cards for their agents, presentation folders, feature sheets, infographics, door hangers, postcards, and more.

The result is a strong brand identity that communicates effectively and consistently across all materials, while also maintaining a visual connection to the parent company. Most importantly, Sutton Solutions Group have achieved a strong and unique presence in their market space, which was the goal from the start.

If you're an Independent Contractor, don't be afraid to deviate from the templates. It can make a real impact on the success of your business, and after all, it is YOUR business.