March 08, 2023

Attention Please:
We are The PR Net’s Next Gen Industry Innovator of the Year

In “Attention Please” we take time and space to celebrate Hello Human’s initiatives. As a small company of people, we care deeply about people, and the issues people face. We make an effort to use our collective skills in communication and PR to shine a light on issues and initiatives that we believe can make a difference in the world.

  Hello Human is The PR Net’s Next Gen Industry Innovator 2023, Image: The PR Net. 

After keeping this exciting news under wraps,

We are thrilled to announce that Hello Human was awarded PR Net’s Next Gen Industry Innovator of the Year! From the pool of Next Gen honorees, we were selected as the overall category winner for our unique PR services model, our This is America activation at Milan Design Week, our efforts to amplify designers of color, and most importantly, our PR initiatives that put emerging and independent creatives on the map.

Thank you to The PR Net for recognizing our accomplishments over the past three years. It’s not often we get to reflect on the work we’ve done, so this application process, and the results that followed, mean so much to our team.

We’d also like to extend a big thank you to our Hello Human community. From PR consultants to clients and members, we’re grateful for your continued trust and collaboration. It’s been an honor to grow our business alongside yours.

We started Hello Human with a mission to provide transparent and accessible PR services to creatives on the rise, and this award is an opportunity to continue on that promise. In the spirit of transparency and accessibility, we wanted to share some insight into our own PR Net Next Gen Award application (and how you can apply them to your next submission), as well as some tips on how to make the most out of your future award wins.

Yours truly,
Jenny Nguyen
Founder, Hello Human.

“I loved reviewing all the entries, but [Hello Human] stood out for its unique model, modern attitude, diversity, and style. The focus on humanity is so important and relevant–that really spoke to my soul. PR is not just a heartless business–relationships are about people. You nailed that message.”

- Celia Jones, PR Net Next Gen judge & Global Chief Marketing Officer, Finn Partners -

Hello Human’s founder, Jenny Nguyen, Photo: Paul Barbera.

Why do awards matter?

Before we talk about what makes a successful award application, it’s important to note why awards matter. In addition to brand credibility and recognition, awards can also help your business stand out from competitors and attract new customers—it’s like receiving a stamp of approval or a vote of confidence from your industry’s leaders.

Plus, awards can be excellent marketing and PR moments to share on your website, social media channels, and other marketing materials (more on that later). And finally, award ceremonies can provide opportunities for networking and building relationships with other professionals in your industry. Who knows, a fellow award winner could be your next collaborator, or maybe one of the judges could become an investor or mentor.

Apply yourself

Submitting for an industry award can be a daunting, overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be. Before entering the PR Net Next Gen Awards, our team considered three things: Who is the audience of this award? What are they looking for? And what does it mean if we win? Keep reading to see how we broke down and worked through these questions during our submission process.

Similar to pitching stories to the right publications, identifying an award’s audience will help you determine whether it’s the right fit for you. For example, if you’re an interior designer wanting to get the attention of high-budget clients, consider submitting a project for a lifestyle publication’s award program. Award submissions are not typically free, so it’s crucial to evaluate which ones align with your business goals and customer base before spending the money. You can also look at previous winners to see if you line up with who the judges tend to select.

Another thing to think about is who’s going to be reading your application. Review the judging panel before crafting your submission. If the panelists are outside your typical industry, tweak your submission language accordingly. When we were considering the PR Net Next Gen Awards, we noticed the judges came from broad lifestyle PR backgrounds, not just design. Therefore, we omitted industry-specific jargon and made sure to clearly explain what Hello Human was and what we were about.

Before committing to an award, take a look at the application questions. If you struggle to answer a decent amount of them, this may not be the award for you. Alternatively, if it is an award you’d like to win in the future, the questions you struggle to answer could turn into goals you work on for the next awards cycle.

Our application asked us a number of questions about our successes and innovations in PR, but most importantly, how we’re advancing diversity, equality, and inclusion in the industry, and what we were doing to move the industry forward. These questions were not easy to answer–as we spend our days doing the work, not writing about it–but it was a great exercise in sharing our initiatives toward accessible incremental services that open the door for more designers of color and the efforts we took to represent diverse creatives in our This is America exhibition. Our advice: take time to think about what makes you most passionate about your business. It’s likely to be the thing the judges will find most exciting about you too.

Even though you may have a good chance of winning or becoming a finalist, this doesn’t always mean you should submit. Take a look at others who’ve won this award in the past. Are they your competitors and comrades? If not, find out where they’re applying and put your hat in the ring.

You should also think about your goals and how the award platform will move them forward. Does the product/project you’re submitting represent where you see your business going.

You’ve won! Now what?

First of all, take the time to celebrate yourself! It’s not every day that creatives get recognized for their hard work. Once you’ve toasted your victory and the embargoes have been lifted, it’s time to shout your award from the rooftops. Here are some ways to do it.

Thank the judges. One of the most valuable outcomes of an award win is getting your business in front of a panel of respected industry professionals. They selected you to win, so you can see this as an opportunity to meaningfully connect with them. Send them a personal thank you note on LinkedIn to express your gratitude, and open the door to connect with them again (in our case, we made a warm introduction and said we would look for them to say hi IRL at the awards ceremony).

Post about it on social media. Oftentimes, the award platform will provide promotional assets, including digital badges, to add to your posts. Here’s an example of a great award announcement. P.S. don’t forget to tag the award platform, they might repost you.

Attend the award ceremony and post about it live. Share Instagram Stories of your team accepting the award, posing in front of the step-and-repeat, and celebrating with your community. These bring authenticity to your brand and provide a peek into the personal side of your business.
Repost or share articles written about your award. These also count as extra press placements—another plus of getting an award!

Send a newsletter. We caution against sending your audience constant email updates, but exciting opportunities like this warrant an e-blast. If you want to see an example, here’s a link to ours.

Create a blog post and make it meaningful. When we were developing this article for The Humanist, we decided to share our award submission tips and tricks as a relevant tie-in to our company’s values in transparency and accessibility.

Add to your About Page. Check out ours as an example.

Add to your email signature. This is a great way for leads or potential collaborators to see the exciting news, especially if they’re not following you on social media or subscribing to your newsletter.

Want to learn more about submitting your latest work for an industry award? Click here to purchase an Express One-to-One Consulting Session and chat with a Hello Human PR Consultant.