LONDON—Price comparison player Compare the Market is looking to step up consumer engagement by hiring a new PR firm to work alongside lead agency Freud Communications.

The company has shortlisted four PR agencies for the new assignment, understood to be worth a mid-range six-figure sum.

The move comes one year after Compare the Market, best known in marketing circles for its Alexsandr Orlov meerkat campaign, replaced three-year PR incumbent Good Relations with Freud Communications.

Compare the Market head of PR Sandra McLaughlin confirmed the pitch, noting that a new agency would be in place by mid-March.

"We are looking for an agency to strengthen [our] approach by supporting the full breadth of product offering," said McLaughlin. "Freud will continue to be our lead strategic agency with responsibility for developing campaign platforms, above the line amplification and driving brand engagement."

A source familiar with the process told the Holmes Report that the brief involves more reactive press office and activation work. "They want to increase awareness of their offers and products."

Since introducing its meerkat campaign in 2009, Compare the Market has seen its share of the online comparison market market soar in relation to rivals such as Go Compare and Moneysupermarket.

The company leads the car and home insurance categories, and is now eyeing further growth in the energy and personal finance sectors. Last month, Compare the Market launched a new web app that aims to help consumers save on energy bills, amid unpopular price rises by the country's energy companies.

Another agency source noted that personal finance is likely to be a focus for Compare the Market, given the need for specialist advice in this area. 

Compare the Market forecast sales of 5m insurance, energy and credit card products in 2013, driving customer growth of more than 30%.