Global strategic branding firm Siegel+Gale (www.siegelgale.com) today announced the launch of its fourth annual Global Brand Simplicity Index™, which evaluates the state, significance and impact of simplicity on brands. This year the research explores the relationship between simplicity and employee innovation more deeply.
Key findings include:
- In the U.S., UK and Germany alone, brands that offer increased simplicity stand to gain $50 billion in revenue
- 75 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications
- In the U.S., 29 percent of consumers said they are willing to spend up to 4.6 percent more for a simpler experience
- A stock portfolio made from the publicly traded top 10 global simplest brands outperforms the major indexes
- The crucial link between simplicity and employee innovation—and the role of purpose—of 27 attributes that consistently describe companies where it's simplest to innovate, "understanding of" and "commitment to company purpose" rose to the top
"Our fourth annual survey reveals that on a global scale, consumers would pay more for simplicity," said Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer of Siegel+Gale. "When consumers experience simplicity at every touchpoint—it inspires deeper trust and greater loyalty. This year's Simplicity Index affirms that brands willing to simplify their customer experiences stand to gain more revenue. In the data, we have the percentage increase in price consumers said they would be willing to pay for simpler experiences offered by each brand included in the survey—a tangible illustration of the value of simplicity. Brands are leaving significant money on the table because of complexity."
Simplicity, Purpose and Innovation
In 2012, Siegel+Gale explored how companies can make it easier for employees to innovate at work. Last year's study uncovered that for employees, promoting innovative ideas was the second least simple thing to do in the workplace, just after asking for a raise. In other words, complexity kills innovation.
"This year, we dug deeper into the link between simplicity and innovation, and we learned that purpose is a critical factor," saidDavid Srere, co-CEO and chief strategy officer of Siegel+Gale. "According to our study, employees find it easiest to innovate when they understand and are committed to their company's purpose. We now have empirical evidence that a clear purpose is critical to creating a culture of innovation. But it has to be communicated from the top down, and articulated through the lens of simplicity. At the end of the day, business leaders who invest in simplicity achieve increased revenue and foster innovation."
The 2013 Global Brand Simplicity Index Top 10 Brands
As the #1 global brand, European-based discount supermarket retailer ALDI continues to enjoy extraordinary success. With more than 9,000 stores worldwide and a brand that "focuses on the essentials, no matter what city," ALDI has made the most of its good-value-for-the-money reputation with both recession-strapped customers and shoppers just looking to spend less.
Amazon earns the #2 ranking on the Global Brand Simplicity Index, thanks in large part to a customer-first commitment—like its easy-to-use, 1-click ordering. And with every part of Amazon driven by data that tracks customer experience successes and failures, it's no surprise the online retail giant keeps landing near the top of the Simplicity Index.
Google slips from #1 last year to #3 this year. Despite losing its grip on the top spot, however, Google is still "a synonym for simplicity," with a friendly and intuitive user interface. And Google continues to make mobile life easier with its new app, Google Now, which gives users information that fits their needs—like mobile airline boarding passes.
Not surprisingly, the iconic American fast-food restaurant gets high marks for speed and convenience. But McDonald's also wins points from consumers for its accessible menu, transparent pricing and clear, concise communications. And as concerns about obesity and other health issues rise, McDonald's is moving forward with redesigned product packaging to include QR codes linked to nutritional information.
Despite a minor setback in China following a food safety scare in late 2012, KFC managed to make the Top 10 simplest global brands. Its straightforward lineup of food and pricing, paired with roadside ubiquity and a successful online coupon program, made KFC a favorite for many with an appetite for simplicity.
You'll find French retailer, Carrefour, securely in the Top 10 again this year. The hypermarket, say respondents, carries "everything you need under one roof." And under new CEO George Plassat, store managers can now tailor inventory in individual stores to match local tastes. That's been a huge factor for Carrefour and its rise in relevancy to customers.
International Dutch fashion retailer C&A remains in the Top 10. With branches in 20 European countries, the brand is busy weaving RFID technology into its shopping experience so customers will always find the products they're looking for on the shelves. Consumers describe C&A as a cost-effective brand you can rely on to make "shopping uncomplicated."
Its flagship product, the Android-operated Galaxy, has been stealing iPhone market share with its elegant design and easy-to-use functionality. And in an effort to shed its image as a hardware manufacturer, Samsung has been heavily investing in promoting its bold technology and innovation. Some respondents championed Samsung's newfound creativity, while others praised its positioning as a modern yet accessible brand.
If IKEA has a mission, it's enhancing the everyday life of its customers. Mission accomplished. Offering easy-to-assemble products at low prices and easy-to-navigate stores, the Swedish company continues building a brand that makes home furnishing simple. Now IKEA is partnering with Marriott International, lending its expertise to help create a chain of hip, budget hotels.
10. Pizza Hut
As the world's largest pizza franchise, Pizza Hut continues to pride itself on accessibility and convenience. And with its memorable ad campaigns and made-to-order menus, Pizza Hut easily rises above the competition. Now the brand's recently updated website provides customers with a "completely fresh online experience"—including the ability to place orders through Xbox.
Global Movers and Shakers
Apple falls out of the global top 10, dropping 14 spots to #19. As the Galaxy and the iPhone battle for smartphone supremacy, Samsung has overtaken Apple, earning the #8 spot on this year's Global Brand Simplicity Index.
Mega-retailer Walmart, once again the world's largest company based on revenue, rose 24 spots to #14 of 92 brands on the Global Brand Simplicity Index. Predictably, many respondents hailed Walmart's clear, simple message: "Low Prices. Every Day. On Everything."
Search engine Bing is starting to give Google a run for its money, rising 42 spots this year to #26. Globally, respondents said they liked Bing's more visual approach to its website as well as its intuitive qualities and ease of navigation.
German home appliance manufacturer Bosch moved up 33 spots from #65 last year to #32. Consumers enthusiastically applauded the brand's simple, straightforward instructions and product manuals. They were also impressed with the high quality of Bosch products, which users say rarely need new parts or servicing.
Best Western, the world's largest hotel chain rose 32 spots to #37 this year. Respondents believe the brand is up-front with rates and like the convenience of its widespread locations. With a top-rated website and the option to book hotel rooms through the brand's Facebook page, it's clear that Best Western wants to make trip planning as easy as possible for customers.
This year's Global Brand Simplicity Index continues to demonstrate that in a world crowded with complexity, simplicity stands out. It brings clarity instead of confusion, and decision instead of doubt. The rewards are real—simplicity inspires greater loyalty in customers, makes innovation easier for employees and drives revenue for brands.
To learn more, visit (http://simplicity.siegelgale.com/2013/)
About the 2013 Global Brand Simplicity Index
The Siegel+Gale Global Brand Simplicity Index is a report of global brand ratings, based on an online survey of more than 10,000 consumers in seven countries who are asked to evaluate perceived points of simplicity or complexity in consumer interactions with over 500 brands across 25 industries. Each brand is rated on elements of the simplicity methodology. Siegel+Gale defines simplicity as ease of understanding, transparency, caring, innovation and usefulness of communications as well as how complex and complicated typical interactions are in relation to industry peers.
The data collected is used to generate two scores: An Industry Simplicity Score™ and a Brand Simplicity Score™.
The Industry Simplicity Score rates each industry on its perceived simplicity. Industries are evaluated on their contribution to making life simpler or more complex, the pain of interactions with companies within the industry and how the industry's communications rank in terms of ease of understanding, transparency/honesty, concern for customers, innovation/freshness and usefulness.
The Brand Simplicity Score rates each brand on its perceived simplicity. It evaluates each brand on the simplicity/complexity of products, services, interactions and communications in relation to industry peers. The score takes into consideration the consistency of responses, the difference between user and non-user perceptions and the simplicity score for the brand's industry.
The annual research study was first conducted in 2010.
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