Intuit reshuffles its PR agencies

SAN FRANCISCO: Intuit has reorganized its PR agency relationships following its purchase of Mint.com, a Web-based personal finance tool.

SAN FRANCISCO: Intuit has reorganized its PR agency relationships following its purchase of Mint.com, a Web-based personal finance tool.

Atomic PR, previously AOR for Mint, has been named AOR for Intuit's personal finance group. OutCast Communications, which was named AOR for Intuit's personal finance group in April, is now AOR for its Turbo Tax business. MS&L no longer works with the company, but until November it was the AOR for Intuit's Turbo Tax business. Access Communications remains Intuit's corporate AOR.

Aaron Patzer, VP/GM of personal finance at Intuit (and former Mint CEO), told PRWeek he selected Atomic to take over Intuit's personal finance group, which includes Mint and Quicken, because of his prior experience with the agency. Atomic first started working with Mint in 2007.

“When I founded Mint, I chose Atomic because they have a very quantitative approach to evaluating coverage,” said Patzer, explaining the agency's method for tracking message resonance, gaps in coverage, and general feedback on media coverage. “I told Intuit I wanted to continue working with them.”

He said Atomic's budget “roughly doubled” from when it was just AOR for Mint but declined to provide a specific number. Andy Getsey, cofounder and CEO of Atomic, told PRWeek the budget is “among Atomic's largest ever budgets so far.”

Patzer noted that a major communications challenge for Mint going forward will be backtracking on some of its messaging now that Intuit is no longer its chief rival.

“I used to say things to the media like ‘Quicken isn't quick' but now I'll be highlighting things I couldn't say before like Quicken has better investment features and is more precise than Mint,” Patzer explained. “And I'll own up to anything I've said about Quicken in the past.”

In April, Mint plans to launch a feature that lets people set financial goals on the site. With this, the company will shift its messaging away from Mint's emphasis on charts and graphs to monitor spending to make a more sentimental appeal.

“The messaging will focus on more of the emotional aspects of money and talk about money as a tool for living,” Patzer said. “Now we want to emphasize that you budget for a reason, not because you want deprive yourself, but because you want something else in the long-term.”

Atomic's Getsey said the agency has grown to manage the increased workload for the account. Atomic will also work on social media, media relations, video, SEO, and other aspects of strategy.

OutCast was brought onboard last year to help Intuit market Quicken Online, a free online service that rivaled Mint. Quicken Online will now be folded into Mint. Although Atomic displaced OutCast, Intuit was “impressed” with the work that OutCast did during its six-month tenure, so it moved them onto the Turbo Tax business, said Scott Gulbransen, senior manager for PR/social media at Turbo Tax.

“The two businesses aren't related but they did impressive work with Quicken in such a short amount of time so we wanted to keep them on,” Gulbransen said.

"TurboTax was a $996-million-dollar business for Intuit last year, and we know that moving such an important business to a new agency – in the midst of their busiest season, no less – took a leap of faith, and we couldn't be any more humbled or more excited," Helena Maus, VP at OutCast, told PRWeek by e-mail.

Representatives at MS&L declined to comment.

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