H&R Block puts a personal touch on tax season

The ubiquitous tax services company has a new branded microsite staffed with experts to provide one-on-one help to tax-stumped Canadians.

When tax season comes around, H&R Block’s green and black-branded ad campaigns always signal it’s time to get those T4s in order. But while its brand is synonymous with tax time, the company discovered earlier this year that it was not necessarily synonymous with personalized service and financial expertise.

So for its 2010 tax season media campaign, H&R Block Canada has launched a new website called ‘Tax Talk from H&R Block.’ Live this week, the site is designed to be a resource for Canadians looking for more information about their taxes and includes a blog, information resource section, FAQ and access to a team of 40 tax experts that visitors can contact directly with questions.

The website will be promoted through an online network ad buy handled by Genesis Vizeum and creative by Due North Communications, with a target of Canadians 25 to 64. A portion of that buy will be aimed, creatively and media-wise, at under 25-year-old targeted sites to emphasize the benefits of getting a tax refund – ergo, filing your taxes – to young people.

The site will also be promoted through email blasts, which it is customizing more closely to customer profiles in an effort to further engage Canadians with the brand. Although the total number of e-blast recipients is confidential, Jocelyn Da Silva, national marketing manager, H&R Block Canada, says ‘nearly half’ of H&R Block’s Canadian clients receive the email news.

The reason behind launching the new site was really driven by their market research, she says.

‘We did some brand health research, as did the US [branch of the organization], in the summer and found that we had great awareness and great familiarity with the brand but quite low brand consideration,’ Da Silva tells MiC. ‘Drivers of consideration were expertise and building that emotional connection with consumers and really talking about personalization. So we’ve taken those learnings and applied them to our marketing strategy this year.’

The website is part of a larger annual media campaign that H&R Block undertakes for tax season, which lasts from January to April 31. This year, the campaign will feature creative by DDB New York, customized for the Canadian market and featuring the theme of helping people navigate the ‘mine field’ of tax credits and deduction. It will cover TV (starting Jan. 25), online (Jan. 25 to April 31) and radio (Feb. 15). Both broadcast media buys will follow a ‘pulsing’ strategy of on-again, off-again media buys to maximize budget and navigate the Olympics. The brand’s social media strategy will also remain in place.