Blog: Aaron Alston

Aaron Alston is the CEO of Cadre Systems and a co-owner of Candor Marketing. He is also a co-managing member of Vinton Building, LLC and a board member with CreateDetroit.

Aaron will be writing about how we should view Detroit; as a glass half empty or a glass half full?  Join the conversation with your comments!

Post No. 2

Embrace what you are and never stop perfecting

Today while I was surfing the net I came across an interesting article on how parents can identify the symptoms of low self-esteem in a child. As I was reading through some of the symptoms, I had a crazy thought – could Metro Detroit be suffering from a low self-esteem. I read on, and symptoms like, blame, denial, and dependency on acceptance from others came up and I became convinced. 

Sure, that’s it. Many of us spend so much of our time blaming someone else for all the problems our region faces. There is always one person who's in denial about the things that are not right about Detroit and one who over exaggerates the things that are. Yet the one that bothers me most is the one that continues to look for acceptance from someone outside the region to feel good about being a Detroiter. I’m sure we all know one or two of these types. 

To the contrary, we should be embracing what Detroit is, accepting the things that it isn’t, and perfecting the things that we want it to be. How coincidental, those are the same words of advice for combating the disorder of low self-esteem. Therefore, we must stop trying to convince people that were something we’re not. We cannot be LA, Chicago, or New York. That just isn’t believable to outsiders or ourselves. That means no more Sammy Davis Jr. remakes of a Sinatra’s New York, New York.    

Someone who has taken advantage of and has embraced the uniqueness of Detroit is the local Ad agency Campbell-Ewald. The Warren based agency has received great response to their latest image makeover where they make the bold claim: "There is no substitute for industrial-strength creativity. There is no easy route to brilliance. You learn these things in a city like Detroit. Where determination and heart win out over smoke and mirrors. It’s no wonder we build our client’s brands with passion, trust and respect. Whether it’s from our people in L.A., New York, D.C., or Atlanta, the heart and soul is still Detroit." 

The point is to take pride in the rich heritage of our city and project an image that is flattering yet believable.  

Another way in which we can combat the symptoms of low self-esteem is to let our citizens have a voice.  Instead of coming up with expensive ad campaigns that are discounted fifty percent on sight (by the mere fact that it is an ad), we should let the citizens sell our city and our state. What’s more believable to an outsider who wants to know if there are exciting cultural activities, entertainment events, and work environments than reading about someone who is participating in one?

An excellent example of citizen journalism is a site developed by BrainGain Marketing called Every week it features fresh stories mostly contributed by ordinary citizens. This is how we can overcome our low self-esteem disorder, by getting Detroiters involved in making a difference.  What are you waiting for?