A Vibrant Culture.

Our Culture

NATIVE’s culture is one of inclusivity and cooperation. We want our NATIVEs to own responsibility for themselves and their work, and be free to act in a self-motivated and collaborative way. We believe this is how people are best able to achieve their full potential and feel fulfilled by what they do. But we don’t just want to talk the cultural talk — we want to walk the cultural walk.

Therefore, instead of the traditional top-down corporate structure, NATIVE has a tribal structure composed of five "tribes" - Medallion, Gaia, Modjadji, Phoenix, and Neo. These tribes are self-managed, multi-disciplinary teams that work with dedicated clients. This system enables us to be client-focused, agile, flexible, and retain an intimate boutique feel, but simultaneously take advantage of the resources and benefits of the full agency organisation.

Fundamentally, our culture is about caring and creativity. We love people — both within NATIVE VML and in the greater world around us. That is why we always strive to create work that makes a real difference in people’s lives.

VML Foundation

VML Foundation Day is celebrated on 30 November with all VML offices across the globe closing their doors and dedicating time to volunteering and helping their local communites.

At NATIVE VML, creating work that lives in people’s lives goes beyond clients and aims to reach disadvantaged communities in South Africa. In 2015 NATIVE VML Cape Town and Johannesburg took part in 10 philanthropic projects and helped organisations such as Foodbank, Kidz2Kidz, Ark Animal Centre, Door of Hope, Dimphonyana Children's Home, and more.

Additionally our staff participate in Payroll Giving, whereby monthly individual contributions are matched by the agency. This continued committment has led to subtantial contributions to NGO's such as; Streetlight School, Cancer Dojo, Santa Shoebox Project, Santa Cause for Paws and Meiring Primary School.

The NATIVE VML Foundation recently launched an Educational In Reach Program where agency staff present to interested learners and volunteers about key topics such as Social Media and Marketing Trends.

Axe Sharpeners

NATIVE Axe Sharpener consists of weekly learning sessions facilitated by external specialists. The speakers are from diverse industries and backgrounds and have included sangomas, coffee connoisseurs, stand-up comedians and start-up investors to name a few. Never boring, NATIVEs leave these sessions inspired and with a fresh perspective on the world around us.


NATIVE Alchemy is an internal grant programme where staff can apply for funding for their passion projects. Through Alchemy, truly inspiring work has been given the opportunity to be seen to completion, not only enriching the lives of those able to work on it but those that it touched as well.


NATIVE Notches is a rewards programme that recognises individual contributions to work. A NATIVE Notch is a custom-designed badge that is awarded with the completion of significant projects. These badges are well sought-after as it is tangible proof of a job well done. Gold notches are the grand prix of notches and aims to award excellence achieved in client happiness, creativity and effectiveness. Gold notches are awarded following a decision made by a judging panel, (much like an industry award process) offering NATIVEs a training ground to craft compelling arguments as to why their work is excellent and deserves merit.


NATIVE Play encourages fun and interaction within the company. NATIVE Play initiatives aim to bring NATIVEs together in a social environment to re-connect with their team members, as well as staff that they don't regularly interact with in the day-to-day work environment. NATIVE Play isn't just about office parties -- it includes charitable initiatives like winter blanket drives and community outreach projects that bring everyone in the company together.