Someone who embodies the WHY of Contribute wants to be part of a more significant cause – something bigger than them. They don’t necessarily want to be the face of the cause, but they want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. Travis Brown, the CEO of Mojo Up Marketing + Media, uses his time, money, energy, resources, and connections to add value to other people and organizations. To Travis, to contribute is an equal success. Therefore, the idea of saying “No” falls on deaf ears, or worse yet, it makes you feel guilty. The key to overcoming this challenge is identifying where you can make the most significant contributions and then committing to focusing your efforts on those areas. Tune in to this inspiring episode to hear more from Travis!
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Marketing, Media And The WHY Of Contribute With Travis Brown
In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the Why of Contribute, to contribute to a greater cause, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily need to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way.
You love to support others and relish successes that contribute to the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate and you often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources, and connections to add value to other people and organizations.
In this episode, I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Travis Brown. He is the CEO of Mojo Up Marketing & Media. Mojo Up is an MBE-certified, Black-owned, and minority-operated full-service brand marketing agency that is made up of a diverse and talented team of marketing professionals and creatives. Their focus is to tell the story, shape the brand, and guide the marketing future for their clients as they make their greatest impact by using their greatest asset, their own authenticity. Travis, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me, Gary. I’m excited to talk about how we make this impact in this world.
Where are you now? What city are you in?
I live in Fishers, Indiana, which is right outside of Indianapolis in the gray area of Indiana.
I’ve been to Indianapolis twice and something stood out to me, which was the size of the potholes in the street. I don’t know if that was only when I happened to be there or what but I had never in my life seen potholes like that.
It’s amazing that with all the technology and everything that they figured out in this world, they have not figured out how to fix those potholes to last longer than one season. It’s a heck of a business. I wish I were in that paving business because you never run out of potholes to fill.
For the people that have never been to Indianapolis, explain the size of those potholes.
You can step your whole foot in it. It will ruin your morning on the way to work because if your car hits it, you’re on the side of the road calling your AAA trying to figure it out. They are significant for sure.
Where I was, they were the size of trash cans. They were huge. The whole side of the road was gone. That may have been just when I was there. Let’s go back to your life. Where did you grow up? What were you like in high school, Travis?
I’m from Lafayette, Indiana, the home of the Purdue Boilermakers. I grew up in that era but in high school, I was a three-sport athlete. I would say twelve varsity letters, baseball, basketball, and football, and my life was consumed with sports. It was the first place that I was able to get outside of our family’s poverty, the fact that I grew up with only me and my mom primarily.
To some of the dysfunctional things that were happening in our family, sports gave me a way out. It gave me a place to excel. It gave me a place for people to see me as something that I wasn’t off the court and I liked that. I spent a lot of time diving into sports. I was pretty good. It created a lot of opportunities and probably a more equal playing field for me as I navigated through high school.
First of all, let’s stay in high school for a minute. What were you like as a friend or as a teammate? What would people have said about you back in high school?
What was cool is that when you see people in your adult life that say, “You stood up for me. You sat by me. You did something.” Because of my athletic status, I had a level of influence solely because I was an athlete. I wasn’t a very good student but I still had something on the inside of me that never sit right to watch people make fun of other people.
Now, I’m old. This was way before we talked about bullying the way that we do in this environment. I was a kid who was willing to help people and do things that were different because I felt like I was different. I’m a biracial child. I have a White mom and a Black dad. I went to a school of 1,500 kids and there were only five people of color in that entire school. We were different. You then tack poverty into that scenario.
It’s always felt like that outcast outside of sports. I was the kid that wanted to see everybody be good and do it. I was ultra-competitive and that probably drove some of my negative side of me. I was always competing in every way, shape, or form unless it was with my grades because I didn’t compete with those. Outside of that, as people see me now in my adult life, it’s been great to hear him echo, “You’ve always been like that. You have always been the motivational guy and the helper.”
It is right in line with contribute which is what we were talking about. You graduated from high school. Did you go off to college?
I did. I accepted a college scholarship to play at Illinois State where I was going to play baseball and football. I found myself in an environment that wasn’t conducive for me. One night, I packed up all of my stuff and quit in the middle of the night the full scholarship, going to school for free, and living out what my dream was. Before I realized it, there was trying to figure out what to do next in my life. I got a call from Purdue University. They said, “Come walk on. We think you can still play here.”
I did that and I did something that not many people have done in their life. I became a two-time college dropout. When you do that, now you have no education. It was the late ’90s and you were trying to find your way. I was working at the pawnshop and I remember asking myself this question, “How did I get here? I’m not supposed to be here.”
Maybe as a statistic, I was, but not in my mindset. I was supposed to do something bigger, go on, and represent my family in a way that we’ve never been represented, which was a college graduate and a success. I was at that crossroads that every single person gets to in some way, which is, “How do I get out of here?”
What did you do?
Interestingly enough, I connected with some people at the time that were in the Amway business. The one thing that it did for me is it helped me understand the value of continuing education, tapes, books, learning, self-development, and empowerment. I learned how to stand in front of people and speak. It fueled me to go, “I don’t have the traditional path as everybody else, which I never did, but I can still be something.”
It started me down the path of going, “How do you help other people get what they want? How do you help motivate people to see this more in life? How do you take your situation and turn it around?” Unbeknownst to me, that became my life’s commitment to not only helping myself get into a situation that I wanted to be in but helping other people.
Through Amway, you got into personal development and personal growth.
Yeah, because back in the late ’90s, when I was involved in that, it was all about out listening to tapes and there’s just education. It was personal development. How could you get better? It was reading Think and Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big, and all of these books that I’d never wanted to read ever. Now, here I was 19 or 20 years old consuming all of this information and content. It set me up for who I am now.
Isn’t that fascinating? It’s so common to hear that the turning point for people that are not on the right path to getting on the right path is personal growth, being a book.
It’s either a book, a connection, or a person that does it. Nowadays, it’s a podcast or a social media clip that you’re scrolling. You watch it and it touches you. Back then, we didn’t have some of that stuff. It was that book or that person who took a few minutes to invest in you and your thought process and give you that good old like, “You can make it. It’s your choice.”
Did you start with Amway? How were you with Amway and what happened to that career?
It’s funny because I knew I was going to retire a gazillionaire in that business and it didn’t happen that way but it led me to the connections that got into the mortgage business. At an early age, 21 years old, I was in the mortgage business. I had a ten-year stint in that business. It led me to even start my own mortgage company, which I sold, and then I became a VP at a large mortgage broker in Indiana and across the country.
It was at that point in time of my life that I was taking that whole personal development and the training acumen that I developed, but then I had to put my leadership style and stuff to the test. When I was 25 or 26 years old, leading 25 to 30 people in an organization in a sales climate fueled this desire to go empowering people and also create an opportunity for myself to make money as I’ve never made my life before, which is tough to handle. There’s some negativity with that as well but it started me on that path and down the right direction.
You went from Amway to mortgage. You were there for ten-plus years? What happened? Was this right when the mortgage business crashed?
Right before that, I got out in 2007. The reason why I got out was that I love sales training. That was my thing in the mortgage business and I took a bunch of my guys to this sales training. The guy tried to bring people up in front and embarrass them to teach them how they need to do sales training. My guys were looking at me like, “You got to go up there.” I go up in front of my guys. I shut the guy down. We all high-fived and laughed about it but it was that day that I realized, “That’s what I wanted to do.” I just didn’t know if that was possible or how to do that.
That’s what led me to launch my motivational speaking career, which I did spend many years collectively and even now, on the speaking circuit traveling the entire country. It led me to a fun space. I did a passion project on anti-bullying. I became the most booked anti-bullying speaker in the country. All of that was still part of who I am in helping impact people in their lives.
You are continually helping others do better and pushing their limits so that they can have a bigger impact.
That’s the warm, fuzzy version of that, which is all true but I was also battling that entire time, “Who am I? Can I do this?” It’s the imposter syndrome that people often talk about like, “I’m in these rooms. I’m doing this, but I’m struggling financially at different times.” I was working so much in the mortgage business at the time that it costs me my first marriage. It’s understanding that you can have all this money, you can work yourself to death and you can work in a bad culture but that has its lifecycle.You can have all this money, work yourself to death, and work in a bad culture, but that has its life cycle. Click To Tweet
I remember going, “I’m not the pawnshop anymore,” but I’m at another place in my life where I’m going, “How did I get here?” This isn’t where I wanted to be either but I didn’t know because the money which I was chasing, alongside this burn to help people come along with me, was reaching a boiling point. That was a tough time in my life for me to recognize, “Who are you, and when you grow up, who do you want to be?”
Because you found success in business, did it make you immune to all the typical problems everybody faces?
No. It ran me faster right into them. What’s more dangerous than a 25-year-old making several hundred thousand dollars a year who’s never had money, who came from poverty, and who never saw his parents handle money? Now, you go through a new rich phase where you’re buying stuff and you have cars, houses, Rolexes, money, and stuff because that’s what you thought was a success.
You’ve chased it and you want it, but you left so many bodies and baggage behind. You didn’t do it the wrong way like it was unethical, but it wasn’t family-centered. It wasn’t others-centered. I was helping people to get what I wanted and to get me to a point where I was successful. That’s where a lot of people chase success.
Zig Ziglar may have had the right mindset, which was, “If I can help as many other people get what they want, then I’ll get what I want,” but that gets misconstrued a lot to manipulation to get you to do what I need you to do for my own benefit. Before you realize it, you’re in a spot. You’re making money, but you’ve had to sacrifice. Everything that you said was valuable.
People do this all the time. They say, “My family is my number one priority,” but you don’t see any real resemblance to that. Growing up, my dad was a great guy. He was a better dad to me than his dad was to him, but it wasn’t very good. My mom was doing the best that she could, but I didn’t have a lot of those examples of understanding money in its place, also, people in its place, and how to save, value, and do things that I’ve never been taught. There I was, short of 30 years old going, “This is not what I thought it was going to be,” and having to make another major decision at that time.
What was the turning point for you? Take us to that moment when you said, “This is not it?”
It was right at the crossroads after I talked about that training incident where I had to decide what I want to do. I knew that the mortgage could provide money, but it wasn’t fulfilling for me. I left that behind to go chase my dream of being a motivational speaker. It was a long, hard road of going from making a lot of money to trying and figuring out how to build a business and how to learn the skill. I was traveling all over the place.
Now, I was speaking and training, but I was developing something. I was creating an opportunity for myself. Before I realized it, I’m like, “This is where I was supposed to be.” All of that failure and I’m a big believer that failure gets you places. All of those setbacks, hard knocks, and poor decisions have all brought me to this place where I get a chance that most people don’t get and that’s to rebuild it the right way.
What was the best part and the worst part of being a motivational speaker?
The worst is easy. It’s the travel. I joke with people and I say, “You don’t pay me to speak. You pay me to travel.” You come to my house on a Saturday afternoon. You bring in your whole team and you show up on my backstep, but I’ll talk to you for 30 minutes for little than nothing. If you want me to leave my family, get on an airplane, travel, stay overnight deal with TSA and all that stuff, and be gone, you’re paying me to travel.” That was the worst part.
Also, the loneliness of that too, because it’s not that glamorous. I can think of all these wonderful places where I got to go by myself without my wife or my kids. That was never glamorous, but the most beneficial thing is this. I almost think almost every motivational speaker would probably echo this if it’s about the one. What you quickly realize is when you walk into a room with an audience where there are thousands of people or hundreds of people and you’re giving everything to it.
You know you can’t change everybody. You can’t inspire everybody no matter how great your message is, but there’s always one. When they come up to you afterward or you’re down the road, several years. They were the ones that, in my world, were thinking about suicide. They were thinking about walking away from a marriage. They were thinking about, “How can I go on?” They were thinking about they were not good and valuable enough.You can't change everybody. No matter how great your message is, you can't inspire everybody, but there's always one. Click To Tweet
Through my transparency of my own failure, encouraging people to do what they never thought they could do, became this badge of honor for me to say, “God didn’t do all that stuff to me. He was trying to do it through me so I could help other people on the other side.” Once you realize that, you feel so on fire for the purpose that it drives you to leave your family, get on those planes, and go do that for years.
You did that for ten years. What was the turning point to say, “I’m done being a motivational speaker? Off to my next thing.”
I have three beautiful kids and I have an incredibly beautiful wife who loves and have supported me through all of this in the last few years. My oldest was getting to be in late middle school or freshman high school. I have two littles. I had this epiphany one day and this is about my oldest, more so than my two littles but I’m like, “I don’t want my kids to look at me and be like, ‘My dad was amazing. He was out there trying to save the world, but he was never home for me,’” and that hit me.
She didn’t say it that way but because I had to leave so much to go help other people and to speak. I became enamored by the fact that I was on CNN, and headline news and speaking everywhere. I’m getting to do a lot of cool things making an impact but the one thing I said when I rebuild this is, “I’m going to do it right.” I felt like there was too much sacrifice for my family.
My wife was feeling like she was doing a lot on her own. She’s an executive herself. It was a crossroads and I was tired, I was worn out but my challenge was, “I know this is part of my purpose.” I’ve got too many people’s lives, thousands of people’s lives that’s been changed. How do I stay committed to that but not have to leave my family? The one thing you learn quickly about the motivational speaking business is that you better be a good marketer or you will starve.
It doesn’t matter how great your message is, if nobody hears it or knows you exist, they can’t book you. They can’t give you a check and all of a sudden, you’re broke and you can no longer do what you’re purposeful for. I had developed a lot of marketing skills. I had hired coaches. I decided I wanted to transition out of that.
A couple of my buddies had a mortgage company. I went back to the mortgage business. I used now my marketing skills to help them build a division that was super strong in the Indianapolis market. I didn’t have to travel very often. I got to do what I love, which was still helping people and helping stories and I got to be local. It was a perfect storm coming, “This is why you’re supposed to be here at this point in your life.”
Is that when you went on to start a Mojo Up?
Yeah. I did that for three years, working for them, and decided, “I wanted to tell stories.” In June 2019, I left and started Mojo Up Marketing & Media. A few months later, we were right in the middle of a pandemic, which I had to shift and try to figure out what does that mean. We had a video team. On March 1st, I hired a video production manager. I hired a CMO and a head of graphic design on March 1st and 18 days later, we were all shut down. I was trying to figure out how to make this all work.
How did you make it work?
Probably the word outside of COVID for 2020 and 2021 was pivot. You had to learn how to pivot. You had to say, “What can I do?” We did a bunch of virtual stuff and at that time, I still was speaking some, but not very often. I was speaking to sell our company or to pick up some checks while I was building the business a little bit but I have to go back to virtual. I learned how to build a strategy for people and people were trying to figure this out. “What do I do and how do I pivot?” We became a great arm for so many people to do that.
2020 was tough. 2021 got things rolling. Now, fast forward, I have ten full-time employees. I have three part-time employees. We have a 5,000-square-foot office here. We work with major brands to build and market them. It’s been a journey. When I look at it, Gary, all those things that I did all those years were just building blocks for what I do now, which is to help people tell their stories through authenticity so that they can make their greatest impact. Every person you meet is different, but whether it’s a non-profit, a corporate entity, or the city, they all have a purpose for existing, and we get to be a part of telling that story.
When you say you help people tell their stories through authenticity, what do you mean by that? Give us an example of what you mean.
When you sit down with somebody, a lot of times it’ll take people 20 or 30 minutes to try to get out like, “What problem are you solving? What makes you unique? What’s your proven process?” It is super important to articulate that brand value. We have a thing called a Brand Blueprint, where I sit in a room and I figure out what that problem-solving statement is. That’s all the content that we create and that we use in marketing that we help people understand and develop so they can use it to grow their business.
Whether you’re a coach, an author, an entrepreneur, or whether you’re in the corporate realm trying to figure out the DEI space, all of them are still struggling with that same thing, which is, “Who are we?” When I sit in a room with people, it’s easy for me outside and this is part of my own gifting. I would say, “God gave me two gifts. One is standing on the stage and speaking to people and the other is sitting in a room and figuring out how to build a strategy that helps people.”
When you put it together and people hear it, they see the light bulb goes off and they’re like, “I can say it that way. I’ve been struggling to share that.” The other piece of that is, as a speaker, the more authentic you are and the more vulnerable you are, the more people love you. The more they engage with you. The more real that experience is. I learned that through speaking. Now, I’m working with brands and not only personal brands but companies to go, “Let’s unpack your authenticity so people can see how amazing you guys are.”The more authentic you are, the more vulnerable you are, the more people love you, the more they engage with you, and the more real that experience is. Click To Tweet
For those of you that are reading that know the Why.os, Travis’ why is contribute, but how he does that is by making sense out of complex and challenging things. Ultimately, what he brings are simple solutions to help people move forward. It tells us that you want to help people have a bigger impact by helping them understand who they are and deliver it in a simple way where other people get it. Does that feel right to you?
100%. In our world, we put brands in front of everything. It makes it sound better, but brand identity is like, “Who are you at your core?” We have core values as do many people, but most people don’t operate within core values. The reason why they’re called core is that it’s supposed to be who you are at your core. You hire, fire, reward, and punish for that. Everything is about that and building a culture. Some people have done a good job at that. The world just doesn’t know it.
Therefore, because the world doesn’t know it, they can’t monetize it financially and they can’t build a culture that can do bigger and better things because people aren’t attracted to that. A real thing that companies are struggling with is how we do that. How do we find that space? Especially now, what we help companies a lot is in attracting talent. There’s a war on talent, as they say. Your story is paramount to being able to attract that good talent. We can touch it in a lot of different ways, honestly.
How important is it to have the words to be able to articulate what makes your authenticity?
The best way I can explain that is, first of all, it’s super important and almost essential. I know that because when I use the wrong words with my wife, it doesn’t go very well. I’m like, “That’s not what I meant.” She’s like, “That’s what you said or you didn’t say.” We all know that context. If I say it well, people resonate with it and they want to be a part of that. When we don’t say it or we say it wrong, you get the opposite. People begin to repel to who you are or how you represent.
One of the things I learned in my tenure of growth was this. I don’t believe you should compartmentalize your world. This is my own philosophy. That means the same Travis Brown you’re getting on this show is the same one that’s going to walk right out into his office with my team or go to have dinner with my wife, my mother, my kids, and my buddies. I’m that guy all the time.
The reason why it’s so important is that in 2022 and 2023, in this era that we’re living in, the difference is that people don’t want to buy companies without knowing who they are. We will not buy something because of what the company stands for or we’ll buy a lot more because of what the company stands for. That’s why in this environment, being able to articulate what that is, is so important to the success or failure of your business.
You walk people through a process to help them understand what they stand for at their core and then help them articulate it in a simple way where others get it quickly and can make a decision whether I like you or I don’t like you. I want to do business with you or I don’t want to do business with you. I resonate or I don’t resonate.
Let me give you a little clarity there. Most people already know who they are. They’re living it, but they don’t know how to articulate it in a way that other people go, “That’s what you do. That’s who you are. I had no idea.” There are people sitting next to you in rows in church, in baseball and softball games, or in transit and they don’t know who you are and what you do, and how you can help them or other people.
There are so many businesses that if they did a much better job articulating that through their design or videos that ultimately show up on their website, social media, or media buy. When they’re able to put that message in front of people and people can consume it, it’s like, “Yes, I want to work with you. I want what you have. I’ve been looking for it. I just didn’t know that’s what you did.”
The right message gets the right response.
Let me say this. One of the things that we can take and what President Trump and every president taught us is that you still only need 51% of the vote. This isn’t even a political statement. This means that you need to know who your audience is and you have to appeal to your audience. When you get your audience to know who you are, whoever that is, it doesn’t matter if the other 49% doesn’t like you or doesn’t engage with you.
Now, I’m not a proponent of making them matter or doing bad things to them. I’m simply trying to point out to people that when you understand your authenticity, it’s okay to say, “Here’s who we are. Here’s who we want. Here’s what we don’t want.” When brands start to do that, does it propel them into greater success by owning who they are and not worrying about who they’re not?
I bet that’s scary for companies to dive into because they want to focus on what we’re doing here. We don’t want to know why we’re doing it or what we are at our core. Let’s talk about our product over here.
They’re like, “Can we get to the end result?” I’m like, “Yes, but let me tell you how we get there. We got to do this strategy thing, then we’re going to do some design stuff and we’re going to have to shoot some video around it. We’re going to craft this message and then we’re going to put it on your social and on here and tell the story.”
It’s not an overnight fix. If you’re trying to get out of this or you’re trying to even, “We’re doing good. We want to go to great.” There’s not an easy button to push that just allows you to get there. One of the things that good companies do is understand their niche. When you understand your niche, it allows you to double down on a specific thing that allows you to be known for that and people can embrace that a lot more than if you don’t.
It sounds like you use the story quite a bit. Why so?
If you think about what Walt Disney said many years ago, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video with a great story is worth 1 million. It’s a culture that we live in. We want to understand the narrative. We want to understand who somebody is. We want to understand what a company believes. We want to feel it. The movie industry has been a gazillion-dollar industry for all of our lives and what do they do? They tell stories.A picture is worth a thousand words. And if a picture's worth a thousand words, a video with a great story is worth a million. It's just a culture that we live in. Click To Tweet
For years, on an individual and a company level, we felt that’s not our job. If we make a great product or service, they will come. I’m telling you, there’s been a lot of people that built it and they didn’t come because it’s the story around it. If you think about the movie business, here’s the power of the story. Most of the time, we go watch movies based on a trailer. It’s in 1 minute and 30 seconds, a version of this movie where they capture the who, the what, the where, the why, and the suspense.
It’s drama filled and action-packed but you’re compelled to say, I want more of that. You then go give them your $22 for you and one person to go get tickets to a movie and some popcorn to be able to see it all but that story. That’s the articulation of a story that’s compelling and that gets people engaged. One of the things that are an obstacle for people, and this is what I dealt with when I was motivational speaking, is they don’t believe they have a worthy story to tell.
Do you have to work with them on figuring their story out?
Yeah. Because most Americans in general, we’ve grown up in this ideology that we don’t want to be arrogant. We don’t want to brag about ourselves. Most of us have been raised on that and marketing feels like a lot of people bragging about themselves. It’s counterintuitive for them to now create a campaign. That’s why it’s very difficult for people to do their own marketing because I’m going to look at you and say, “This whole White thing, you got to do this and this with it.” You’re like, “I don’t want to feel arrogant. I don’t want to feel boastful.”
I’m saying, “I don’t want you to feel that either but if the world knows about it, they’re going to engage. They’re going to be on board with it.” We got to convince people many a time that it’s a big component of this thing. I’m using this phrase, “telling this story,” but it’s giving people some understanding of who you are and what you do, and why you do it.
I had on the show a gentleman who was voted the number one marketer in the world. He told me, “I can help anybody with how to brand and market their business, but I could not figure out my own. I had to hire somebody to come work with me. I felt like a loser.” He said, “I’m supposed to be the expert and I could not figure it out for myself for the life of me,” and that’s just the way it is, right?
100%. For any of your readers that have kids, people that get kids that get it, or even a spouse. You can tell your spouse something all the time and it’s like, “It doesn’t resonate as hard as when somebody else does. I think that’s where we all live. I take myself through the same process that I take everybody else through.
My coach taught me something a long time ago. He’s like, “You got to be Mojo Up that’s talking to Travis Brown on what you need to do. You can’t go in the mindset being, ‘I’m Travis Brown trying to talk about myself in the third person and come up with a narrative. It will feel too awkward for you to do that.’” Most people have to hire an outside company, even the best of the best. I’ve done it in spots where we’ve been stuck to help them think through it but here’s the thing.
We get that in almost every other realm. That’s why we hire a coach for our kids for sports and somebody that’s doing our weight training and somebody to do like X, Y, and Z. There are people that are called and have a high level of skill to do something very specific that can help you. I wish more people were willing to tap into that and say, “I’m not good at this. My philosophy is, ‘I call it, pay the man or woman to do something way better than I could.’” If I’m doing it, I’m going to jack it up. It’s not going to work right and then I’m going to have to pay them anyway after I’ve already messed up.
Tell us about the name Mojo Up.
Mojo came from when I was speaking. I had established this whole idea around the things that “It” leaders did. I felt like there were leaders. Some leaders had “it” and some people leaders didn’t. I didn’t want to go around and build a whole business off of speaking around it factor so I called it the mojo factor. I had these factors of what great leaders did that others didn’t and great cultures had that others didn’t. That then became the basis for that.
It’s funny because I used to speak all the time and one old lady in the front row of one of my public seminars one day is like, “Hey, Mr. Mojo Guy.” Another lady did it and I thought, “Huh.” That was the formation of Mr. Mojo, which was part of my speaking persona. That then rolled into our company of Mojo Up as speaking, coaching, and consulting. When I went into marketing, I was thinking, “What am I going to call my marketing company?” I thought, “Why would I change exactly what I’ve already called myself and the brand for the last few years?” We stuck with Mojo Up.
Who would be an ideal client for Mojo Up? For the people that are reading, who would you like to have connected with you? What companies?
We do three main types of services that connect with people. One is more of the small business brand refresh. You’ve started down a path. You’ve been trying to do some stuff. You’re successful and you may be doing well, but now, you’re ready to go to the next level. You realize that the logo that you initially did on Fiverr is not enough or the design that your brothers, uncles, or sister did something for you is not enough.
By enough, I simply mean you’re going after accounts now where people are like, “You got to be on point and your stuff has to look great.” It’s the same thing with video, your social media, and your website.” We come in. We build that strategy and we turnkey all of it and say, “Here’s a refresh of who you are, what you do, and how well you do it.” That’s client number one.
Client number two is more of a mid-market with the corporate side of things. Now, you’re talking corporate and C-Suite executives that are probably going, “We have a story to tell, but we can’t figure out how to tell it.” You see a lot of this. For us, it’s in the DEI area. We spend a lot of time helping people understand how to track that talent, how to create that culture, and how to crystallize it so that people go, “I want to work there. I want to be a part of that.”
We have a whole group of diverse and talented team members and we’re very diverse in the way we look, the way we think, and the way we operate and age. We’re able to tell a client’s story not because Travis Brown is great but because Travis Brown has a team of people that are great that have so many different vantage points that we can come together and build that messaging. The second one is the enterprise-level type of client. The third one is individual services. We have people that go, “I need A.” It could be a logo. It could be a podcast show created. Whatever that thing is inside the marketing realm, we have the ability to turnkey that solution for you.
You have tapped into the power of diversity.
When people talk about diversity, it means a lot of things to people. For us, I wanted to build what I wanted the world to look like. We have a lot of racial diversity that’s visible to the eye where people can see that. We have some religious diversity that was very new to me to embrace, very male-female diverse. Our youngest is a recent college graduate who’s phenomenally talented. We got 50-plus people in there. We have experience differences. If I go down the line, I could check all the boxes at some level and say, “We have this diversity, but why?”People talking about diversity means a lot of things to people. Click To Tweet
It matters to our end clients and they’re trying to figure out how to market to all of us. If it was only me times ten sitting in a room, I’m so limited in thought and perspective that I can’t be as good as anybody else. If I don’t have people that come from my background, the poverty, the driving of money, we have all of those things. What that means to our clients is that you have somebody that gets you, but equally as important, gets your clients and could help you connect and engage.
I don’t know if this is a fair question or not and I don’t even know if you want to answer this question or not, but it popped into my head because of the way you described diversity. Would you be able to tell which type of diversity has been the most beneficial or most helpful for your company? Has it been racial diversity, age diversity, or education diversity? Is that a fair question? You can say no if it’s not. That’s okay.
It’s a fair question because people have it. That’s what makes it a fair question. I don’t think we could pick any one of those to say it helps us create value outside of here. The easy answer is that our racial diversity is what brings the attention. Number one, we’re a Black-owned marketing agency. We’re the largest Black agency in Indiana. We have thirteen people. We have six Black males. Six Black males don’t probably exist in many companies in Indiana alone, let alone in size of 13, 2 black females, 2 people of Asian descent, and White. That is a visual makeup. We have a gal who’s Muslim, so just by her outer appearance.
Those things create buzz around people looking at us and can noticeably see that diversity. What I’m more excited about is yes to that because it doesn’t exist, but secondarily what that means. That means we bring such an array of different thoughts that ultimately is what makes our product that we put out so different than the people that we’re competing against in our market.
It’s interesting because diversity has a different meaning for so many different people. For some, it’s a positive. For some, it’s a negative but the way you explain diversity was positive in the ability to think, see, and connect differently. Sometimes, you don’t get that definition when you’re talking about high schools or middle schools. It’s a forced diversity versus, “We wanted to have different perspectives, opinions, and insight. I don’t know everything. I got to see it from different angles.” I like the way you talked about it.
There’s so much scarcity around this conversation and transparently, if you’re in a majority, I understand some of that thought process of like, “What is this going to mean for me and what does this do?” Our campaign in 2020 and 2023 is called diverse and talented, not diverse or talented. So many people had this mindset that if I’m choosing diversity, then that means I must be choosing less talented and it’s not the case. It’s “and.” It’s about being able to have both.
However, for people that had to look around and do that, sometimes it creates a little bit of fear. Sometimes that creates some unknown. Where our world is going, we have to be more receptive to things that are different. We’re starting to do a better job with diversity. The real scary thing for people is equity. If you’re talking DEI, the equity portion is, “Are we willing to provide different sets of resources for different people to get them all to be at their best?”
The hardest shift that we’re still seeing is because we think equality is the answer, but it’s not. It’s about equity, which means, “I may have to do things.” As parents, we know this. If you’re a parent, you already know this. I’ve got three kids. There’s no equality to it. It’s equity because this one, I have to do this for. This one, I do something different for, and this one, I do something completely different to get them all to the same exact level. That’s what we’re saying in the workplace. That’s what’s going to take to create opportunities to make the biggest impact and change our world.
If there are people that are reading that want to get ahold of you and want to follow you to learn more about Mojo Up, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?
It’s easy. It’s MojoUp.com. It’s our website, but it’s also all of our social media handles. You can reach out to me at TravisBrown@MojoUp.com. Feel free to email me. If people go and they start to watch what I do on LinkedIn, watch our Instagram and see some of the things that I’m putting out, there are two things I would tell people. One is to figure out if you can do that yourself. If you can do that yourself, then you do not need me or our team. Secondly, if you can’t do it yourself, then the question becomes, what would it look like if I hired Mojo Up or somebody like us?
Travis, thank you so much for being here. Talking with you reminds me of the quote from Steve Jobs, which is, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking back,” and you’ve talked about that a lot. There are so many things that happened to you. You didn’t know why, but now that you are where you are, you can look back and say, “That’s why that happened.” You’ve come an amazing way and I love what you’re doing. I’m looking forward to staying in touch and following you.
Thanks for having me, Gary. I want to encourage everybody that you can make it. You can do it. You can be it. I’ve always loved helping people achieve things that they didn’t think were possible and although I may not be the one to lead you to it, there’s somebody in your sphere of influence that can help you get to where you’re going to go. You got to ask and then you can get there.You can make it. Do it. You can be it. Click To Tweet
Thank you, man. Thanks for being here.
Thanks for having me.
It’s time for the segment, Guess Their Why and this is a person that some of you are going to know and maybe not all of you are going to know. His name is Joe Polish. I met him at an event that I was speaking at. He was speaking there as well. We got a chance to sit and talk, but I didn’t know a whole lot about him other than I knew he was a good marketer.
He wrote a book called Piranha Marketing, but I found out after the fact that he is known as being the most connected person in the world. He knows everybody. He is good friends with everybody and it turned out that a couple of days after I met him, a movie came out about him and it was called Connected. The book Who Not How was written about him in the power of knowing people and connecting with people.
I did send him the Why.os discovery so we will know his Why.os but I’m going to guess. If you know him, then you’ll appreciate it but I’m going to guess that his why is to contribute. To contribute to a greater cause, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others because he cannot help himself from contributing to others’ success. When we were having lunch, there were other people at the table with us and he almost went around the table and tried to figure out how he could help everybody. He wants to help and he’s very much about giving. Be the giver. Give First. I believe that his why is going to come back as contribute.
I’ll get back to you and see if you know him. I’d love to hear what you think, but soon in the next couple of days, I’m going to know and I’ll be back and let you all know what I came up with. If you enjoyed this episode, please make sure that you leave us a review on whatever platform you are using. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com and use the code PODCAST50. Please go to whatever platform you are using and subscribe. Leave us a review because it’ll help bring this to more and more people. Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next week.
- Think and Grow Rich
- The Magic of Thinking Big
- LinkedIn – Mojo Up Marketing & Media
- Instagram – Mojo Up
- Piranha Marketing
- Who Not How
About Travis Brown
Travis Brown is the CEO of Mojo Up Marketing + Media. Mojo Up is an MBE certified, black-owned and minority-operated, full service, brand marketing agency that is made up of a diverse and talented team of marketing professionals and creatives. Our focus is to tell the story, shape the brand, and guide the marketing future of our clients as the make their greatest impact by using their greatest asset – their own authenticity.