Chch design firm wins top honours

22:24, Nov 08 2012
BIG WIN: From left, Excellence in Business Support Awards founder Sarah Trotman, Plato Design Agency managing director John Plato and creative director Lisa Plato, and AUT Business School dean Dr. Geoff Perry.

Christchurch design firm Plato Design Agency has won top honours at New Zealand's 2012 AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards.

Plato won the Idealog sales and marketing award for businesses in the less than $5 million turnover category.

Owners John and Lisa Plato started Plato Design Agency in 2007. John had a background in business development, Lisa in design, and the couple saw a niche in the market for a customer-focused design agency.

The firm had found a gap in the market and that proved to be working for them, John said.

The firm has won several awards in the last couple of years including the Deloitte Fast 50 award for being one of the fastest-growing service business.

Judges at the awards ceremony in Auckland said Plato's staff culture and its approach to market were stand-out features.


John said the firm spent a lot of time and money on internal culture.

Plato's client base is 80 per cent Christchurch-based and spans start-ups to large corporations in sectors from agriculture and transport through to designer clothing brands.

Plato Design Agency has seen strong growth in web and online marketing work from Christchurch clients following the February 2011 earthquake.

As businesses had relocated after the quake, many had gone back to the market and invited tenders for their branding and web design work.

Plato had had the opportunity to tender for a lot of work, and the firm had won a lot of contracts.

Plato's staff numbers have grown to 20, and the firm is recruiting for more staff.

The 13 category awards were announced at a gala dinner for 700 hosted by AUT Business School in Auckland on Wednesday.

The supreme winner was Michael Barnett, chief executive of Auckland Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to business and the community over the past 21 years. Barnett also won the award for the Individual Category.

The Press