Cannes Lions

The Accountable

PERISCOPE, Minneapolis / INTUIT / 2022

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Accountants weren’t feeling the love. For years QuickBooks had been using the accounting industry as a way to sell software products to their small-business owning clients. This made sense, as QuickBooks depended on accountants for over 20% of their sales, but years of being treated like a sales channel were beginning to deteriorate the relationship between QuickBooks and the industry as a whole.

Both qualitative and quantitative research revealed that accounting pros were turning on QuickBooks. Product recommendation score (our measure of brand sentiment) was at a 3-year low (33 points), while comments from accountants were painting an even darker picture (for instance: “I’m not really sure they [QuickBooks] have my back” and “We deserve acknowledgment”). At a time when new accounting software companies were entering the market, QuickBooks was long overdue to show the accounting industry the appreciation, credit, and support they deserved.

Idea

No one holds themselves accountable like accountants. This simple, sticky statement encapsulated what sets accountants apart, and the standard that QuickBooks would hold itself to. “The Accountable” multi-year campaign that this statement inspired was brought to life in three chapters.

Chapter 1, the campaign launch, was a multi-channel initiative anchored by an anthem video that showed the accounting industry just how indebted QuickBooks was to their work and work ethic.

Next in Chapter 2, we showed how it was the accountants themselves who deserve the credit for improvements to products like QuickBooks Online Payroll. We took this idea to its extreme by showing a team of QuickBooks product developers spring into action when an accountant had a suggestion.

Finally in Chapter 3, we set out to acquire new users by showing how accountants are the superheroes of small businesses, and that QuickBooks just wants to be their sidekick.

Strategy

Accountants are unique. Their business success is intrinsically tied to that of their clients. This is true not only practically, but emotionally as well. Again and again, we heard accounting pros talk about how they put their clients’ businesses needs ahead of their own. We found this to be a powerfully inspiring dynamic that could serve as the seed of a long-term brand story.

First, our short-term goal would have to be to win back accountants’ trust and affinity. If we could get the accounting industry back on QuickBooks’ side, only then would we be able to build on that brand platform to talk about specific products and services, all while continuing to treat them as the trusted partners they were, rather than a sales channel.

Execution

To bring “The Accountable” platform to life, we committed to showing only real-life accountants and telling their stories as authentically as possible. For Chapter 1, we began by interviewing dozens of accountants across the country. They told us about the work they do for their clients and agreed to film themselves in their (uniquely accountable) daily lives. We then cast actors (each of whom also happened to work as an accountant in their day job) to re-enact stories inspired by our interviews. Both self-shot and professional footage were then woven together into an emotionally resonant launch video.

Chapters 2 and 3 followed the precedent that had been set, featuring real-life accounting pros in still and video formats, maintaining a level of honesty and relatability, even in the most heightened, entertaining creative executions.

Outcome

Our primary goal was rebuilding trust with the accountant industry and in each iteration we exceeded that objective.

Chapter 1 saw a 45% video completion rate on social (crushing industry benchmark of 5%–8%), 77% video watch rate, and a 61.7% improvement in new subscribers. Moreover, product recommendation scores (brand sentiment) reached an all-time high with a 24% lift at the peak of media spend.

Chapter 2 garnered record-breaking video completion rates between 98% and 100%, signaling deep engagement, further evidenced by over 6,000 conversions to the Payroll product.

Chapter 3 drove 22,219 direct sign-ups to QuickBooks accounting software (our primary goal) and increased small business subscribers via accountants by 13% in the first 90 days.

By showing QuickBooks’ accountability to accountants, we saw tremendous growth and restored the faith that we are one of the best partners for accountants and the small businesses they serve.

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