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Finding Happiness


With a remarkable resurgence, rich history, and cultural cachet, Detroit is special. Unfortunately, not everyone knows this about the Motor City. In a 2018 study, Detroit was identified as the unhappiest city in the United States. That study inspired us to prove the statistics wrong with a project called “Finding Happiness Detroit.”

According to a recent study released in March 2018, Detroit was officially the unhappiest city. Really? Despite the city resurgence, historical grit, cultural diversity, beautiful weather (at least 3 seasons out of the year) and lower crime rate – how could it be? Are Detroiters really unhappy?

Finding Happiness Detroit is a series of 60-second tiny documentaries showcasing the interesting, unusual, inspiring and jubilant stories that make up the City of Detroit. Unhappy? We beg to differ and are on the quest for Finding Happiness in our hometown.

What Is Finding Happiness Detroit?

Finding Happiness Detroit is made up of tiny documentaries that showcase the happy people of the D. From the obscure to the uplifting, we’ve been sharing the home-grown stories of local influencers, heroes, and all-around happy people who call Detroit home. Our documentaries can only be found in one place: Social media.

They’ve quickly captivated thousands on the little screen, but there’s far more to the Finding Happiness story and the unique brand we are building…

Our Documentaries Show The Power of Visual Storytelling

At Social Motto, we talk a ton about visual storytelling. It’s one of the main reasons clients hire us to manage their social media marketing efforts. Here’s the deal: Words prove who you want to be, but actions prove who you are. Rather than just calling ourselves visual storytellers, we’re using Finding Happiness as a way to prove that we are visual storytellers. We saw the study, came up with the idea, grabbed our equipment, and went straight to work … with smiles on our faces, of course.

But why documentaries? Well, why not? As a team of digital-marketing mavens, we’re well aware that everyone enjoys videos (nearly 80% of global internet traffic is video … and that percentage is only increasing). And just like you, we love video too. Love doesn’t always translate to talent, but we have the passion, skill, and expertise to offer a fantastic finished project.

Case in point: Click here to watch one of our quick clips that instantly went viral. We guarantee you’ve never met anyone quite like Todd LaRosa before.

We will always have a thing for the written word and maintain our chops to craft compelling copy, but we also know our stories will surely inspire happiness if viewers can see and hear the genuine emotions of our subjects. Even the best wordsmiths need some visual backing, after all.

The truth is visual storytelling is no longer the future that seems so far away. It’s the present. It’s in your pocket, in your home, on your nightstand, and amidst your office … really, it’s everywhere, thanks to phones, computers, televisions, and other devices. More importantly, it’s here to stay.

We’ve made visual storytelling our bread and butter. For us, the documentaries that make up Finding Happiness Detroit are vehicles to show its profound power. Who knew 60-second clips could pack such a punch? If we’re being honest, we did…

Finding Happiness Detroit

Honoring The Detroit Community

As Detroiters, we take personal offense to our home base being labeled as unhappy. The only way to fix it is to turn the frowns upside down and show just how happy the people of Detroit and surrounding cities are. No casting calls, no scripts, and no budget. We’re flipping the narrative and honoring the community with raw, real stories of our locals.
With video cameras in tow, we’ve been lucky enough to build relationships citywide as we scour the streets with smiles on our faces. Honestly, what better way to make our point and honor the community? We want to continue to show Detroit love, while highlighting the people who love Detroit. From Alan Posner introducing us to Klezmer music and Deon Forrest’s unique drumset to Debra Chaffins’ weaving and Amy Johnson’s “pets,” there really is a world of happiness in Detroit that our community has been thrilled to reveal. We’re covering a lot of ground with this project, but the relationships we’re building with the community are perhaps the most important aspect of it all.

How Do You Find the Right People to Feature?

Ah, the first question we asked ourselves when we got started. Rather than brainstorming specific people to highlight, we knew one characteristic trumped the rest: People who take action. And we knew action-takers would find us as quickly as we’d find them.

As Shonda Rhimes said, “Ditch the dream and be a doer.” We consider ourselves doers; and we do our best to highlight other doers who in their own unique ways are making a positive impact on our city. These doers are beacons of happiness worthy of the spotlight. Take a look at the people who DO in Detroit! In fact, do you consider yourself a doer who’s head over heels for the Motor City? Give us a shout — we’d love to get to know you!  

Finding Happiness Is an Example of Building a Brand

While our social media marketing agency is called Social Motto, we’ve made Finding Happiness its own brand. This project deserves it. For years, we’ve made our living elevating others brands on social media. Now, we want to prove we can start from scratch and build an empire.

The best part? This particular empire spreads an amazing message close to our hearts.

Finding Happiness Detroit doesn’t live on its own e-commerce website or in a brick-and-mortar location. We’re doing it all through the power of social media. It’s people like you who are helping spread the message of happiness to thousands by tapping “like,” clicking “share,” and weighing in with your comments. It’s pretty cool what you can do with social media, and frankly, we’re just scratching the surface. We want to see how big this thing can get before we reveal all of our metrics; but it’s safe to say, every business, brand, and organization who is trying to make their mark on social media will be impressed.

Food for thought: A great social strategy paired with incredible execution could be all you need to compete with the biggest brands in the world. Just be sure visual storytelling is key cog of your strategy.

We believe most people want to be happy. And by showing happiness, we spread happiness. Call it a case study or a proof of concept, we’re demonstrating the influence of effective social media marketing. Look, marketing is what we do, but we often want our clients to bask in the limelight of our efforts. With this project, things are different. We get to test, assess, adjust, and evaluate everything on our own. While we love collaboration, this is one we’re spearheading alone; and we can’t wait to show you just how far our message goes.

For us, it’s fun. But of course, it’s still business. We’re marrying the two thanks to Finding Happiness Detroit. Keep an eye out for the case study on our new brand, and join us on the journey by following Finding Happiness Detroit on Facebook.

Do you have a story idea or a person we should talk to?  Interested in advertising, partnering, licensing?  Send us a note at


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