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The offering, Burrell says, has been instrumental in building African-American market share for existing clients such as Toyota and new ones like AARP, which enlisted Burrell two years ago. The latter's 2017 campaign on marketing to consumers over the age of 50 garnered 8 million media impressions and nearly 1 million tweets, according to Ferguson.

Such work helped Burrell increase its year-over-year revenue by $2.5 million to $22.5 million in 2017. The company is also increasing its own advocacy through internal work like Allies of Innocence, which partners with mental health organizations to help survivors of gun violence.

"It keeps you closer to the people in a far deeper way," says Ferguson.

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