CMR and Ignite Are Joining 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

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.