Harnessing the power of human truth to drive brand transformation from tool to partner
As the brand known for driving the digital transformation of the real estate shopping experience, Zillow already had a lot going for it. But Zillow’s leaders knew they were still leaving brand and business value on the table in the form of unmet customer needs. Knowing that the most powerful and enduring brand evolution begins with deep insight, Zillow turned to Brandtrust to reveal the Human Truth of home and moving. Together, our CMO-led cross-disciplinary team went on a journey to understand the deeper story and build a strategy that could transform Zillow into a trusted partner across the entire search/find/buy/move cycle, and beyond.


Emotional Inquiry revealed the human truth anchoring the category: homes are mirrors of and expressions of, individuals’ sense of self. Just as humans must constantly grow to thrive, individuals and families seek and find new forms of self-expression through the home. Moving is the most immediate form of this evolution. While it involves great personal risk, it also holds the potential for great reward.


Brandtrust worked with Zillow to develop a Brand Framework anchored in a central promise based on our core insight and validated through quantitative testing: “Move Forward”. Brand pillars, critical for driving clarity around how to express the brand’s promise, supported the positioning with key principles designed to be activated across touchpoints ranging from advertising to U/X design to employee onboarding. Brand personality traits and values were co-created with the core team alongside Zillow’s creative agency, ensuring collective buy-in and effective expression.


The emergent brand strategy has served as the foundation for Zillow’s ongoing 2.0 evolution, with emphasis on creating an emotionally resonant marketing experience and, according to Zillow leadership, “changing hearts and minds” within Zillow by infusing the brand strategy into the internal culture and driving why employees are excited to show up every day. This most notably comes to life in Zillow’s latest ad campaign.