SAN FRANCISCO: NerdWallet, a company that helps consumers make financial decisions, has brought on former Trulia comms VP Ken Shuman to serve as the brand’s first head of communications.
Shuman, who joined NerdWallet as VP of communications last week, reports to CEO and cofounder Tim Chen. He left his post at Trulia last month after six years at the company.
NerdWallet hired Shuman to spread the word among consumers about its financial content and resources, Chen said.
"We want to become a household name," Chen explained. "We’re not very well-known because we haven’t focused that heavily on consumer PR relative to other forms of content marketing."
Three junior comms staffers report to Shuman. He said he will spend the third quarter of 2014 developing a plan to build out the communications arm next year, which might include hiring talent or bringing on an agency partner.
Shuman will also collaborate with comms analysts on the content marketing team who focus on finding outlets to place content outside the traditional news sphere, such as bank websites.
In addition to promoting the brand and its tools, one of Shuman’s long-term goals is to help make personal finance education part of high school curriculums across the country, he said. Shuman added that he plans to take a grassroots PR approach to the initiative and work on policy issues in Washington, DC.
Founded in 2009, NerdWallet has no paid placements or sponsored links on its site, so it can provide consumers with "neutral" financial advice, Shuman explained.
Shuman said he decided to join NerdWallet based on personal passions. As a middle school student he chose a Wall Street investing class as an elective, and he asked his parents to buy him stock rather than gifts for the holidays.
"There’s so much amazing opportunity, that at the end of the day when I sunk my teeth into this and started thinking of the impact we could have on society, I knew pretty quickly I wanted to go for it," Shuman explained. "I’m going to go big."
Earlier this year, Shuman helped Trulia launch its first national marketing campaign, Moment of Trulia. The $45 million, year-long initiative seeks to engage home buyers and sellers, specifically college-educated women between 25 and 44 years old who are married and ready to buy a home.
Prior to Trulia, Shuman spent 13 years on the PR agency side, working for Bite Communications, Text 100, Access Communications, Horn Group, and Fitzgerald Communications.
Shuman was also listed on PRWeek’s 2013 40 Under 40 list.
Watch: Shuman spoke at the 2013 PRWeek Conference about why the PR industry must rebrand.