(Black Enterprise) – March 1, 2023
Diversity, equity and inclusion are good for business at CMRignite, the nation’s largest Black-owned cause marketing agency. The firm, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been able to achieve exponential growth in staff and revenue by prioritizing diversity as a best practice for its business model.
Since the company was founded by Jacqueline Moore in 1995, CMRignite has been on a mission to develop innovative, cross-cultural marketing campaigns that lead to real, positive change. While many agencies struggle to hire and retain diverse talent, CMRignite has intentionally and methodically built a staff that is 70% Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ and/or people with disabilities. In addition, the company acquired a Washington D.C.-based marketing agency in 2022, creating an even more diverse team of creatives and communicators.
The agency’s current client list includes organizations like U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, National WIC Association, NAACP, Wisconsin Department of Tourism and the University of Wisconsin.
“I knew I wanted to build an agency that would make an impact and leave a legacy, and I also understood the importance of reaching the multicultural market in an authentic way long before it became popular,” said Moore, chairman and CEO of CMRignite. “Hiring the best and brightest talent allows us to compete at the highest level, yet it’s our diversity that sets us apart. I believe it’s one of our biggest assets.”
Moore understood the potential of tapping into emerging multicultural markets in the mid-90s, and she sought to satisfy that need. It paid off. Today, with a staff of close to 60 full-time employees, CMRignite is an award-winning agency that recently earned a spot on the INC 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the United States based on its unprecedented three-year growth rate of 709%.
Data provided about some of CMRignite’s most recent marketing campaigns confirms that many of its multicultural ads perform two to three times better than the general market industry average.
“Our team’s talent, coupled with their diverse lived experiences, allows us to create compelling campaigns that get results for our clients. Our strategies are designed and developed in an inclusive environment, and that matters,” said David Bowles, president of CMRignite. “In an industry that often struggles with diversity, I hope our story inspires others because it proves that diversity is good for business.”
A 2023 employee engagement survey found that 90% of CMRignite’s employees felt the agency’s mission is the reason their jobs are important, and more than 90% of employees said they believe their work offers a sense of purpose and motivation.
“If you want to compete in the marketplace, you have to be inclusive. I’m extremely proud that we have built a team that defies the industry norm and actually reflects the diversity of America,” Bowles added. “It hasn’t been easy, but when you make diversity a priority, it can transform your business.”