The newsletter and website won two National Telecommunications Cooperative Association TeleChoice Awards on April 28 in Baltimore, Md., with the newsletter winning a fourth consecutive honor and receiving a perfect score from a panel of industry experts.
Hardy Telecommunications Marketing/Human Resource Director Derek Barr accepted the awards at NTCA’s annual marketing/public relations PRNet Conference. NTCA represents about 600 telecommunications companies across the United States.
A panel of industry experts not affiliated with NTCA did the TeleChoice award judging this year, a departure from the past three years when voting was done anonymously by conference attendees. Despite the change, Hardy’s newsletter, the Communicator, took the top prize for the fourth year in a row.
The Communicator won First Place in the Customer Newsletter category for newsletters designed in-house for companies with up to 5,000 access lines. Derek writes and designs the Hardy newsletter.
“I was honored the past three years to win in the newsletter category because the voting was done by my peers,” Derek said. “But it’s also gratifying to know that other people in the industry outside of NTCA think that our newsletter and website are this deserving.”
Although the judges weren’t identified, NTCA Marketing Committee Chairperson Carrie Huckeby told the audience that Hardy’s newsletter received a perfect score from the judges. The judges praised the quality of the design and writing, calling the copy “informative and engaging” and “topical and current.”
“The newsletter is visually appealing and well designed/laid out,” one judge wrote.
Another judge called the Communicator a “very nice publication, with a good balance of telco promotions, community outreach, employee news and service changes (10-digit dialing) that affect customers.”
Hardy’s website, www.hardynet.com, was awarded First Place in a new Website category. It was recognized in the “Outsourced” category for companies with up to 5,000 access lines. HardyNet unveiled a new website last year after a complete redesign by JCI Media in Winchester, Va.
“I’d like to thank Jason Cooke and JCI Media for their excellent design work on our new website,” Derek said. “Jason is a former employee of Hardy, so it’s wonderful to get this recognition.”
Derek also praised his fellow Hardy employees for their help on the redesigned website.
“We formed a team of employees across all facets of the company to review every page on our website, from the look of the pages to what items were included in our `Frequently Asked Questions’ section,” he said. “We took their suggestions and rewrote the website’s copy to make it easier for our members to use.”
Derek said Hardy Retail Sales Manager Becky Kimble deserved particular mention for heading up the review team.
Indeed, the judges complimented the copy and design of the website, saying the copy was easy to read and understandable, and that the site gave the impression that HardyNet is “very innovative and fresh.”
“The site looks great and is very attractive,” the judges wrote.
In addition to Derek and Becky, the members of Hardy’s website redesign team were Ashley Eye, Dana Dyer, Denise Miller, Jeff Sites, Rhonda Constable, Steve Poling, and Tracey Ratliff.