[S2] [E9] How to Use Anxiety to Be an Effective Marketing Consultant with Sunni Sukumar, Marketing Director at preHIRED

How to Use Anxiety to Be an Effective Marketing Consultant

We can turn pain into something beautiful. Through the learnings we acquired from painful moments, we can be a beacon of hope to other people enduring the same struggles. This is especially true for a marketing consultant, who must focus on people’s emotions. We shouldn’t allow pain and fear to stop us from living a meaningful life. Instead, it should be a stepping stone to become a better person and give inspiration to those who need it.

In today’s episode, Sunni Sukumar discusses how he turned his pain and anxiety into a useful tool in his career as a marketing consultant. He shares with us how he provides value to his customers by igniting their “levels of desire.” Sunni also talks about why marketing is a healing art and how he helps transform people’s lives for the better through his profession. 

Be inspired and find ways to become a catalyst for positive change in other people’s lives by listening to the full episode. 

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Discover how Sunni turned his pain and social anxiety into a powerful tool in his career as a marketing consultant.
  2. Find out how marketing healed Sunni’s trauma and low self-esteem.
  3. Learn the importance of empathy and offering real value to your customers. 


Episode Highlights

Sunni’s Path to Becoming a Marketing Consultant

  • Sunni had a difficult childhood in America. He lived in a hostile, white neighborhood where he got picked on a lot due to his race.
  • He developed social anxiety and fear of white people due to his childhood trauma.
  • Sunni later decided to adapt and stop suffering. He found a way to connect with others and help them in their struggles through marketing.  

Overcoming Fears Through Exposure Therapy

  • He tried various ways to overcome his anxiety, such as using exposure therapy.
  • For a while, he had a particular fear of Caucasians due to his childhood experiences. Sunni decided to give people a fair chance because not everyone will treat him poorly.
  • Not knowing his cultural identity contributes to his fear. His parents want him to be Americanized to avoid the prejudice their family had been enduring.  

Managing the Duality of Being American and Indian

  • Ever since he was young, he knew there’s a conflict between his relatives and his family. Sunni’s relatives criticize his parents for “not being Indian enough” and betraying their culture.
  • He felt he didn’t belong anywhere because he wasn’t embraced even in his own family. 

Getting Through Fears

  • Finding people who understand your pain is a healing experience.
  • Sunni is grateful for meeting beautiful people whom he felt safe, happy, and comfortable with. They helped him heal the pain he acquired when he was young.

How Sunni’s Pain & Anxiety Made Him a Better Marketer

  • For a marketing consultant, empathy and connection play a significant role in identifying the value you can offer to your customers.
  • Sunni’s fear of not fitting in lowered his self-esteem. He also had a hard time forming relationships with other people.
  • As he regained his self-esteem, he understood better what customers want and offered value appropriate to their needs.
  • It’s like putting on a persona. You use a persona to perform improved actions.

The Role of Empathy in Data-Driven Marketing

  • The best market research comes from great conversations with your customers. You can learn their hopes and fears by talking to them sincerely.
  • Emotions are flavors of desire. It is vital to understand your customers’ emotions so that you can tailor your ad to their needs.
  • Data will show how well you engage and communicate with your customers.

Emotions as Flavors of Desire

  • Sunni describes the different types and intensities of emotions as “flavors of desire.” It’s important to label these emotions to identify your customers’ demands.
  • Feelings drive us to want something different from what we have now.
  • Marketing won’t work if we take emotions out of the picture. Marketers have to figure out why their customers experience difficulties and what their vision is for their lives. 

Marketing as a Healing Art

  • Marketing and sales are healing sciences because they help people embrace and make changes in their lives. 
  • While Sunni was dealing with his personal growth, he realized how marketing helps in his healing.
  • Customers want services that will make them feel better than they do now.  

On Creating Focus

  • You don’t have to specialize in one thing; you can focus on something, create progress, and move on to other projects. People don’t have to be afraid of not having variety in their careers.
  • Find ways to find excitement in your career and personal life.
  • Marketing is an excellent service to the world, helping people pass through their fears and achieve their hopes and dreams.

5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

[03:59] “If I didn’t want to suffer life, I had to find a way to connect with people.”

[06:44] “I started to realize, ‘Hey, it’s not everybody who’s like that. It’s a handful of people just decided to be ignorant towards everybody else that made me scared when I was a kid.’ And I need to really give every person a fair chance to show who they are.”

[10:46] “Every now and then, life would give me somebody who was just such a beautiful person that, and like, so safe that I can really work with them and be great friends with them and do things with them and heal with them.”

[13:04] “Now, if you have low self-esteem, it’s just a lot of suffering. And you don’t see things clearly, so it’s important to heal that. But the more I heal that, the more I’ve been able to offer that value, understand people’s personality types and their needs.”

[17:39] “Every feeling we have is something that drives us in one way or another to want something different than what we have now.”

About Sunni

Sunni Sukumar grew up in America with his Indian family in Long Beach, California. Being in a predominantly white neighborhood in the early 1980s, he experienced racial discrimination, which caused him social anxiety.

Sunni is determined to turn his pain and use his skills as a guide to other people having a hard time achieving the life they want. He is now a successful marketing director at preHIRED, continuing his passion of helping people move on from their fears and pain.

If you want to connect with Sunni, you can visit his LinkedIn and Facebook.

Enjoy the Podcast?

Navigating the Rise highlights the unique identities of different Asian communities. If this podcast has helped you gain new perspectives on various cultural norms, don’t forget to subscribe and share it with people who can benefit from the discussion.

Love to give us 5 stars? If you enjoyed this podcast, we’d love to hear from you! Help us reach more audiences and provide answers to all your questions about Asian and Western cultures.

Do you want to help others transform their pain into an asset? You can do it by simply sharing the things you’ve learned from this episode on social media!

Navigating the Rise on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

As always, you can contact me here!