How CEO Travis Brown Built One of the Most Diverse & Talented Marketing Agencies in Indiana
Writer / Seth Johnson
Photographer / Justin Sicking
In the world of marketing, the humble agency of Mojo Up is making a point to ensure they stand out, starting with the people they hire on staff.
“We have seven black males who work at our company, which doesn’t exist in most companies in the greater Indianapolis area, even if they have 1,000 employees,” says Mojo Up Founder and CEO Travis Brown. “What that means to the client is when we come to the table to think about marketing them, we think differently.”
Located in Fishers, Mojo Up was started by Brown in 2019, and now has a staff of 11 full-time employees and four contract employees. A public speaker for over 20 years, Brown was inspired to start Mojo Up after coming to the realization that many businesses in the area lacked the knowledge to properly market themselves.
“If you have an incredible plumbing business or if you are a real estate agent, you didn’t go to school to be a marketer,” Brown says. “But you quickly realize that if you can’t market, drive leads and convert, then you go out of business. So I was always thinking, ‘How can I help people do that?’ That was really my inspiration.”
Initially, Mojo Up primarily worked with individuals on developing their personal brand. Over time, though, Brown quickly found himself working with larger and larger clients.
“When I first started it was really about personal brand. I worked with a lot of executives, CEOs and small-business owners and helped them build their personal brand, which morphed into spending more time with company brands, especially with small businesses,” Brown says. “Fast-forward to today, and now we work with midsized companies and some enterprise clients. Our clientele is significantly different than when I first started all by myself. It’s exciting that we’ve had big companies and corporations raise their hand and be willing to put their trust in us.”
As the largest black-owned marketing agency in the state of Indiana, Mojo Up has specifically been able to help clients improve their workplace diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
“Over the last three years we’ve had a lot of companies that chose to work with us because we had a diverse mindset to help them with their business, based upon the people and the talent that we have,” Brown says. “The truth is that DEI is such an important fabric of companies, but most companies don’t know how to produce it.”
While diversity is certainly at the heart of Mojo Up’s identity, the marketing agency also ensures its employees are skilled at what they do. For this reason, Mojo Up launched their “Diverse + Talented” campaign in 2022.
“The reason why that was important to us is because we wanted to change the narrative that it’s not diverse or talented – it’s diverse and talented,” Brown says. “We’re not asking people to come to us only because we’re diverse. It’s because we have both, and that’s not something most of our competitors can offer.”
When it comes to the specific types of clients they’re looking to work with, Brown highlights four specific categories. These include companies who:
are looking for a diverse and talented agency
are looking for an agency to tell their DEI story
are looking for an agency who can help them recruit diverse talent
must use an MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) certified agency
When it comes to the general process that Mojo Up takes its clients through, Brown explains there are usually several strategic steps, starting with a Brand Scorecard. “We audit you and then we turn it into a Brand Scorecard so you know where you stand today,” Brown says.
Next, Mojo Up moves on to developing a strategy, or what they call a Brand Blueprint. “That’s really our signature thing we do, which helps people understand their brand value and brand story,” Brown says of the Brand Blueprint. From there, Mojo Up passes things over to their creative team, who visualizes and works with clients to bring the brand to life. This is followed by optimization (where Mojo Up builds out and optimizes digital, social and online presence) and activation (how to grow exponentially with Mojo Up’s brand management).
In reflecting on what Mojo Up takes pride in, Brown emphasizes that the marketing agency invests wholeheartedly in each and every one of its clients’ projects.
“We build it like it’s ours,” Brown says. “That simply means that when I sit down in that conference room to build your strategy, I’m doing it like I’m an owner or stakeholder in your company.”
Recently, Mojo Up also secured the Finch Creek Fieldhouse naming rights, now aptly named Mojo Up Sports Complex. It is another move, Brown says, that is focused on the local community.
“We are taking our own advise on branding and impacting the community,” he says.
As Mojo Up continues to serve clients’ marketing needs throughout the greater Indianapolis area, Brown also hopes his agency can serve as an example when it comes to DEI.
“We want to be a black-owned marketing agency that competes at the highest level, for the purpose of paving the way for other minority agencies, creatives and businesses to do the same thing,” Brown says. “We want other agencies to really start challenging themselves in their hiring practices and their own level of diversity.”
Mojo Up is located at 8626 East 116th Street, Suite 200 in Fishers. Learn more at mojoup.com, or give them a call at 317-892-8109.