Online real estate giant Zillow unveiled a comprehensive rebranding Tuesday that includes a new, simplified logo and website design, as well as a new name and new customer scoring system for its lucrative Premier Agent online advertising service.
Zillow’s brand refresh includes larger photos on its online listings, “a simplified shopping experience,” and the addition of the word “Zillow” to its Premier Agent program for third-party real estate agents, making it “Zillow Premier Agent,” in all company references from here on out.
Check out the subtle but noticeable difference between the old and new logos below:
Collectively the changes are meant to “bring simplicity and joy to the process of finding a place to call home,” Zillow’s president of media and marketplaces Greg Schwartz wrote in a blog post.
As part of the rebranding efforts, Zillow a posted a pair of new commercials to YouTube late Monday night. The company also re-published a series of recent video ads, originally from March, to YouTube with the new branding.
While the new and simplified logo — it still looks like a house with a Z on it — may be the first thing consumers see, the changes to Zillow Premier Agent in particular go deeper than branding.
In his blog post, Schwartz wrote that the company was “reimagining” the program around the idea of “partnerships” and “gone are the days of letting anyone with a credit card in the door.”
“Our focus now is connecting home shoppers with the best real estate professionals,” Schwartz continued.
To that end, the company has devised a new “customer experience” scoring system for real estate professionals who use Zillow Premier Agent. The new system, dubbed “Best of Zillow,” was first announced by the company last year. But it will now begin rolling out for Zillow’s Premier Agent customers and their clients.
Zillow has for years offered consumers the ability to rate and review agents that appear on its website, however, the new effort goes a step further.
Zillow Premier Agents who earn scores of 90 or higher on online customer satisfaction surveys will be awarded a “Best of Zillow” badge on the site. Earning the badge means that an agent went “above and beyond” for customers “throughout their home-shopping process,” according to Susan Daimler, Zillow’s senior vice president over the program.
In a blog post Tuesday, Daimler said benefits of earning the “Best of Zillow” badge include access to “exclusive tools” and being celebrated “in our national advertising campaigns, both online and on television.”
“We’re literally shining a light on the best agents and standing behind the expertise you provide,” Daimler also said of the program.
Scores will be determined via surveys that customers fill out after interacting with agents.
Daimler said that there are currently three surveys, the first of which is administered 24 hours after agents connect with a customer. The second survey is given 15 days after an agent starts working with a customer, while the final survey is done “45 days once you’ve established a strong relationship,” according to Daimler.
Daimler went on to describe the new system as a “data-driven” solution that rewards the best agents, and which is still evolving.
If an agent’s score falls to 73 or below, they will be given a three-month grace period. During that time, the agent will have access to tools and resources to help drive improvements. However, if the score doesn’t go up during that period, the agent will ultimately be removed from the platform.
Zillow will begin notifying agents on April 15 if they have low scores and need to improve. That means the company could begin removing agents from the program three months later, in July.
This plan comes after Best of Zillow was first announced in October 2018, at which time the company said it would not be interested in taking money from low-scoring agents.
Zillow Premier Agent lets real estate agents pay to have their name, image, and other contact information appear on home listings in specific ZIP codes, as well as receive leads from those customers who reach out to contact an agent on Zillow.
Tuesday’s rebranding news was announced the same day the company unveiled a new lending service, called Zillow Home Loans. The service will allow consumers to get their loans directly through Zillow and was created by renaming Mortgage Lenders of America, a company Zillow acquired last year.
But the Zillow Premier Agent news is still likely to make the biggest waves. At least thus far, the program has been a major source of revenue for the company, with past changes sparking debate and dividing opinions. Zillow’s research last year also indicated that nearly half of consumers who filled out a “contact agent” form on the site never heard back from a real estate professional who could help them — hinting at challenges the company faces when it comes to actually connecting people. Both past and current tweaks to the program appear to be aimed at correcting that issue.
Schwartz on Tuesday argued that the new changes to Zillow Premier Agent would make it better. Adding “Zillow” to the name, he wrote, “was a strategic decision to share our brand value with your business.” Adding scores and “Best of Zillow” badges is also an improvement, Schwartz said, because it allows agents to “shine.”
“You, as a Zillow Premier Agent, are the magic maker,” he added. “We’ll provide you with a platform optimized to help you connect and communicate with buyers, sellers and renters.”