Author Mainak Dhar takes a break from zombies and snipers to look at effective personal brand building in ‘Brand New Start’
In the early days of lockdown, when Mainak Dhar heard of people losing their jobs and facing career uncertainty, he thought he could help out with his experience in the corporate sector. The 46-year-old author who is CEO for India & South Asia at Kimberly-Clark put out an offer on LinkedIn.
“Within a couple of weeks, more than two dozen people had reached out and I began chatting with them, helping with résumés and preparing for interviews,” Mainak says, adding, “I found myself repeating common themes — the importance of doing something because it is a good fit with who you are versus chasing someone else’s definition of success; self-actualisation versus depending on degrees and designations; and how to be more intentional and show up at key ‘moments of truth’. I wondered if it would not be more helpful if I could put these thoughts together in the form of a book and that is how Brand New Start (Bloomsbury, ₹399) was born.”
Sense of purpose
The Mumbai-based author has written the Alice in Deadland series which looks at a zombie apocalypse through the lens of the Lewis Carroll classic and also thrillers such as Sniper’s Eye and 03.02. “I had been working on a thriller but I asked myself whether another thriller would be useful at this time, or if I could create a more positive impact by sharing some of the ideas I was discussing with the people I was mentoring. I believe that brands and people make the most impact when they are driven by a sense of purpose. So, I put the thriller aside and began working on Brand New Start,” he says.
Admitting there is no formula for success, Mainak Dhar says one will be more fulfilled if one is true to oneself. “People often spend their energy trying to be someone else or trying to live up to someone else’s definition of success.”
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Not a a big fan of self-help books, Mainak says he hopes readers will ask themselves crucial questions. “Everyone can be successful, the challenge is to discover what you can be uniquely successful at and pursue it. As a society, we drum it into our children’s heads that being successful means picking up labels that others have, instead of understanding what plays to their unique strengths and where they can make the most impact,” he adds.
Speaking of the truth in personal branding Mainak says, “People think of it in superficial terms — the way we talk, dress, or network. The most important part of creating a strong personal brand is to be rooted in a clear sense of purpose; to use one’s passions and talents to serve others.”
The role of social media in personal brand building cannot be underestimated. “The first touchpoint where people encounter one’s brand is on social media — whether it is a recruiter looking up your LinkedIn profile or a date looking you up on Instagram. It is a critical part of building our personal brands. The important thing is to be thoughtful about the kind of brand you want to create. Many people see social media as an outlet for narcissism. It is best if we harness its power not just to post selfies but to form genuine connections,” he adds.