Exponential growth lands CMRignite on Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the nation

Wisconsin’s largest minority-owned communications agency receives national and local recognition

(MILWAUKEE, Wis.) August 25, 2022CMRignite, the nation’s largest minority-owned cause marketing and social impact agency, has earned a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the United States with a three-year growth rate of 709%. This prestigious list is an annual ranking by Inc. Magazine of America's fast-growing private companies based on their percentage of revenue growth from 2018 to 2021.

Founded in 1995, CMRignite is a full-service, strategic communications agency that specializes in developing cause and behavior change marketing for Fortune 500 companies, major nonprofits and government agencies. The agency has 60 full-time staff, 75% of whom are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ and/or people with disabilities. CMRignite is the only Milwaukee-area company in the advertising and marketing industry on the Inc. 5000 list. 

“Our agency’s mission is to develop innovative, cross-cultural marketing campaigns that lead to real, positive change,” said David Bowles, president of CMRignite. “It’s an honor to be included on the Inc. 5000 list for the third year. It’s truly a testament to the fact that focusing on social impact and cause marketing helps to drive business value, both for us and our clients. This is the future of the advertising industry, and we’ve worked hard to become a leader in this space.”

The agency’s client list includes many organizations, including General Electric Healthcare, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and University of Wisconsin. In addition to the Inc. 5000 listing, CMRignite’s growth has also earned the company a spot on the Milwaukee Business Journal's  list of the largest advertising agencies in the Milwaukee area, coming in at No. 11.

“When I founded this company 27 years ago, I knew I wanted to build an agency that would make an impact,” said Jacque Moore, chairman and CEO of CMRignite. “I’m humbled that our agency is being recognized for its growth, which wouldn’t be possible without our amazing clients and dedicated staff.”


About CMRignite

CMRignite is a full-service, strategic communications agency that specializes in developing cause and behavior change marketing for Fortune 500 companies, major nonprofits and government agencies. Since 1995, the agency has focused on developing innovative, cross-cultural marketing campaigns that lead to real, positive change. CMRignite’s team, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, grew to more than 60 employees during the pandemic. To learn more about CMRignite, visit cmredge.com

As Milwaukee Continues to Experience Increased Gun Violence, Recent Survey Shows Residents are Ready for Real Solutions

Gun violence survey, conducted by state’s largest Black-owned communications agency, amplifies residents’ concerns about the long-lasting impact gun violence has on victims, families and neighborhoods 

(MILWAUKEE, Wis.) – August 18, 2022 – As gun violence in Milwaukee continues to surge,  

Wisconsin residents are ready for sustainable solutions that save lives and create safer neighborhoods. A recent pulse survey of Wisconsin residents conducted by CMRignite, a leading multicultural public health and cause marketing communications agency based in Milwaukee, found that more than 80% of Wisconsin residents agree that gun violence in Milwaukee is a serious issue, and more than half say it’s the most important issue in the city.  


In addition, CMRignite has partnered with The Asha Project for a “Men’s Only” event Friday, August 19 at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center, 3020 W. Vliet St. from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. This candid discussion will talk about gun violence and domestic violence. The agency will conduct a digital survey to capture additional insights about this issue.  


“As a proud Milwaukee native, I’ve seen the irreversible impact of gun violence and have watched it destroy too many of our neighborhoods, our communities and our families,” said David Bowles, president of CMRignite. “From the Central City to the Deer District, we’ve lost too many lives to this epidemic. It’s time for bold ideas and bold actions, and I’m hopeful that CMRignite can be a part of the solution. We are all in this together.” 


In Wisconsin, about seven in 10 African American and Hispanic residents say gun violence is the most important issue facing Milwaukee, according to the survey which was conducted by CMRignite’s Innovation Hub, which focuses on quantitative and qualitative research. 


CMRignite’s survey further revealed the following data points: 


  • Three-fourths of Milwaukee residents say that gun violence has gotten worse in Milwaukee over the past three years. 
  • Only 13% of Wisconsin residents agree that Milwaukee has effective ways to address gun violence. 
  • Wisconsin residents agree that support services for mental health and trauma, peer/mentor support and skills-based education to handle violence would be helpful in promoting safety and preventing gun violence in Milwaukee. 


“CMRignite’s survey findings illustrate the importance of listening to residents and understanding their lived experiences in order to develop effective solutions,” explained Dr. Joan Prince, a consultant with CMRignite’s Research Division. “The feedback from this survey is invaluable as we all look for ways to address gun violence and make Milwaukee’s neighborhoods safe for children and families.” 



Based on the survey findings, CMRignite has identified a three-pronged violence prevention approach: 


  1. Develop a platform to amplify the voices of victims of gun violence and their families
  1. Create a comprehensive, city-wide effort that brings together grassroots organizations, business stakeholders and government leaders to find real solutions based on research findings 


  1. Work with local organizations to develop and deploy hands-on education derived from quantitative data and innovative violence prevention resources that focus on conflict resolution. 


To download the survey findings and learn more about this initiative, please contact CMRignite at or nestradabest@cmrignite.com 



Founded in 1995, CMRignite is a full-service, strategic communications agency that specializes in developing cause and behavior change marketing for Fortune 500 companies, major nonprofits and government agencies. The agency’s mission is to develop innovative, cross-cultural marketing campaigns that lead to real, positive change. With a team of 60 employees, 70% of whom are BIPOC, CMRignite’s client roster includes the City of Milwaukee Health Department, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the CDC, SAMHSA, NIH and several others. Recently named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in the country, the agency is Wisconsin’s leading multicultural marketing agency. In addition, the company is a certified Minority Business Enterprise and Woman-Owned Business. For more information, please visit cmrignite.com or call (414) 247-9898. 




CMR and Ignite Have Joined Forces

January 10, 2022 – Effective marketing for positive behavioral change and societal transformation, while focusing on audiences that are diverse ethnically, religiously, and more, had a sense of emptiness until CMR and ignite came onto the scene.

The merger of CMR and ignite, joining forces as CMRignite, was inspired by the desire to bring together two atypical agencies that are aligned in their mission and focus to make an even bigger impact on America’s diverse society as a whole. CMRignite will have a team of 60 full time employees and a revenue of $40 million.

David Bowles is the President of CMR. His leadership helped the agency grow nearly 400% and conduct business with notable national clients such as GE Healthcare, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Air National Guard while achieving back-to-back placement on the Inc 5000 list. During the pandemic, CMR took the reins for the national push for Black US audiences in the COVID-19 campaign, making a huge impact on the health and livelihood of Black communities nationwide.

“CMRignite is a marriage of two companies with nearly identical missions coming together to create one agency that is committed to creating real change in the communities that need it most, particularly those that are historically underrepresented. As a majority-BIPOC, minority, and woman-owned agency, we’re confident that we can leverage our diverse lived experiences to benefit our clients,” stated Bowles.

Jeff Rum, the founder and CEO of ignite, is an award-winning creative director and marketing strategist. He has 20 years of experience in marketing and communication, brand strategy, and digital fundraising for national and global organizations such as Bose, Fossil, and PepsiCo. In 2014, Rum led a campaign with the Obama administration to launch My Brother’s Keeper, a public-private partnership to promote intervention by civic leaders in the lives of young men of color to address their unique challenges and promote racial justice.

"I started ignite because I wanted to create an agency that focused on creating high quality brands and campaigns for purpose-driven organizations, to move the needle and create positive change in the world. To have the opportunity to join CMR with extraordinary alignment on mission and values is the ultimate match for our team. It will allow us to work with more organizations, create more impact, and achieve our collective vision," said Rum. "When I met David Bowles and the CMR team, I understood this was the right opportunity at the right time—for our clients and our team members. I know as we build CMRignite, the sky's the limit."

CMR is a full-service, strategic communications agency that specializes in developing cause and behavior change marketing for Fortune 500 companies, major nonprofits and government agencies. Since 1995, it has been its mission to develop innovative, cross-cultural marketing campaigns that lead to real, positive change. CMR’s team, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, grew to more than 40 employees during the pandemic.

Founded in 2015, Ignite Digital Strategy Group (ignite) is a digital and brand agency focused on working with mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, foundations, and associations. Its work is focused on research, strategy, marketing implementation, and digital advertising. Their team tripled in size during the pandemic, growing from a boutique agency to a mid-sized firm based in the Washington, DC, area.

To learn more about CMRignite visit https://www.cmredge.com

You’re Responsible for Communicating Your Values

Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen technological advancements that have transformed how the American public communicates. And the business community has appropriately adapted to respond to the needs of their consumers. Whether that’s meant dedicating ad dollars to Facebook or embracing video and podcast content, businesses have always followed the lead of our consumers.

While there’s been seemingly endless discussion within the business community of the impact of these technological changes, another—more important—shift remains under the radar. That is the rise of the values-based consumer. What do I mean by this? Today’s average American consumer is looking for more than a transactional relationship with your business. Instead, they are pledging brand loyalty to companies with congruent values, assigning a premium to those who are able to demonstrate a commitment to corporate citizenship that humanizes a company’s business practices. Case and point: a recent study* indicates that 76% of Americans will refuse to purchase a product if they find out the company supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.

The truth is that this transition has been happening for some time, but has only been exacerbated by the events of the last few months. The Coronavirus pandemic, as well as widespread protests for racial equality, has raised the level of public consciousness of the potential of business to drive health, social, economic and political change. Consumers are leveraging their spending power to demand corporations and their leaders either step up or step out.

Despite a loud call to action that’s forced many businesses to reexamine their values, priorities and role within society, this moment doesn’t require an alarmist response. We’re not in a moment of crisis, but rather a period of opportunity. Those businesses that are shifting their focus to communicate how their values align with their customers, employees, and communities are rising above their competitors, inspiring confidence and cultivating brand loyalty.

Now more than ever, companies have a decision to make: will they STEP OUT on their responsibility to the people who interact with their brand or will they STEP UP and seize the opportunity? If you believe the latter, you need to take the step of communicating your CSR efforts so your stakeholders can see and understand your values. Don’t know where to begin? In the upcoming blog posts, we’ll give you tips for planning and executing a successful CSR marketing campaign.