The first 10 years have been inspiring for Riverbed’s founder and CEO Monalisa Zwambila, who has seen her vision for a black, independent full service creative agency come to fruition. Riverbed has grown to become one of the largest black agencies in the country.
“Our 10th birthday is a milestone occasion and while my team and I are celebrating a decade of building great brands, we are not losing sight of where we came from and where we are headed,” says Zwambila. “We believe that our fresh and integrated approach to marketing across all platforms, our creative excellence and our in-depth understanding of the South African landscape gives us the edge over our competitors.”
Creative Director Leon Moodley concurs. “As a black-owned agency, we are familiar and identify with our target market, and we understand the dynamics when telling authentic, homegrown South African stories.” Riverbed is representative of the country’s diverse landscape, and being led by a strong woman has proven to be a winning formula.
Chosen by their blue chip clients for their ability to launch, grow and position brands positively in the market, Riverbed’s key accounts include KFC, Old Mutual, iWYZE, Fundi (previously Eduloan), Microsoft, Diageo, PPC and UNISA.
With a guiding philosophy to do great things for good, the Riverbed team’s commitment to work with brands they believe can make a difference is matched by an ambition to grow the company, to be and offer the best and to work with the best.
In 2014, Riverbed acquired 100% of Chillibush Communications, a through the line agency with a 16-year industry history with skilled expertise across diverse sectors. The acquisition elevated Riverbed’s profile as a medium-sized agency with revenue well above R50m and put them on equal footing with agencies like Grey Africa, Saatchi & Saatchi and Net#work BBDO.
Year-on-year revenue growth in 2015 stood at 26%, 13% in 2016 and is projected to hit 35% in 2017, pushing it into to the R70m–R100m revenue tier.
The next 10 years are likely to see Riverbed’s dedicated team utilising their place in the market to expand their influence on transformation.
“We are inspired to build great brands,” says Leon Moodley. “To do so, we need energetic teams who in turn inspire our customers, which accounts for our focus on finding and growing black talent to contribute to the company’s growth and transformation ambitions.”
Zwambila says that if there is a dream for the next 10 years, it’s to expand its footprint into the rest of Africa, to take Riverbed’s unique approach to story-telling beyond our borders and to create a “United Nations of Africa”.
“Our vision as we enter our second decade is to become the greatest, independent creative agency in Africa out of South Africa,” says Zwambila. “Riverbed will continue to conceive campaigns that go beyond the brand, to tell stories that help people realise their potential, earning not just share of market, but share of heart.”