Using personal branding to enhance your employer’s brand
Creating a personal brand isn’t for the faint of heart, but with a mix of authenticity, consistency, and diligence, it can pay off for you and your employer.
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The way brands truly connect with consumers is to tell a compelling, authentic story. The same holds true for personal brands, those you cultivate among your online following.
Personal branding goes beyond sharing cute photos of your dog with your followers — unless cute dog photos are really your thing, in which case own that and make it your niche.
Where personal branding really has power is in its ability to help not only build your own brand, but also the brand or brands of your employer. Not everyone has bought into that concept yet, though Quentin Allums is proving that it can work.
Allums, CEO and co-founder of Urban Misfit Ventures in Milwaukee, is a digital storyteller, having amassed over 10 million views on his LinkedIn content as one of the earliest video creators on the platform. However, it took time for him to find his online voice.
“I don’t come from much and have been very familiar with struggle in my past,” says Allums. “I launched two startups prior to my current venture and they both failed. But during that time, I was creating a lot of content and one day people started paying attention.”
According to Allums, he created over 500 videos before anyone really noticed, using YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and AskWhale, among other online platforms. “Nothing really took off for me, but I used the medium to learn about myself and track my progress,” Allums explains. “I moved to LinkedIn because a mentor pushed me to start writing more on that platform.
“Around the time that I joined, LinkedIn released its video feature,” he adds. “I was afraid at first but decided to make the leap for three reasons: 1) I was struggling and needed to make money; 2) I knew that I had the skills and personality to standout on the platform and also, the feature was new, and I knew I could bring something fresh to the platform and get noticed (and maintain that viewership); and 3) because the decision-makers were there. Saying that LinkedIn changed my life would be a massive understatement.”
Allums leveraged his newfound online influence to launch Urban Misfit Ventures with three other co-founders. Now a team of 11, Urban Misfit Ventures is a parent company to three subsidiaries: a storytelling/content agency, events company, and a podcast studio. Allums fills the visionary/integrator role, mostly dealing with all high-level strategy, culture/hiring, driving inbound leads, and fostering relationships.
His LinkedIn success has also led to speaking engagements, including the upcoming Disrupt Madison 4.0, Wednesday, June 5, at the Sylvee, where he’ll discuss digital storytelling, from the benefits of creating content online as a professional to how creating will shape the person that you become offline.
Using his own experience as an example, Allums believes it’s important for professionals to actively cultivate their own digital brand, both separately and in conjunction with their employers’ online brand.
“I remember meeting a buddy of mine, Mark Metry, the host of the top-100 podcast Humans 2.0, for the first time in person,” recalls Allums. “We were in NYC, he had just finished speaking at a university, and he said something that I agree with 1,000 percent and have preached: ‘A lot of students think that their business is going to be the next Uber, Facebook, etc. And it could be … but more than likely it won’t be. And that’s why it’s so important to build a personal brand because you will always take that with you.’
“Mark is dead on,” notes Allums. “Companies fail, they die, they get acquired, but personal brands live on as long as you do. I’m a perfect example of that.”
Digging deeper, Allums points to the rapid pace of innovation in fields such as virtual reality, augmented reality, internet of things, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. “Individually, all of those things have the power to impact the world and our lives as we know it. Collectively, there’s another revolution coming. When a machine can do anything and everything that we can do, only better and cheaper, it’s going to be very hard to stand out if you don’t have that brand and that story. Share your story.”