Simplicity: Simply The Most Important Characteristic Of Brands Today

Study shows that the 'simplicity' of a brand is the defining factor in providing both great user experiences, and brand performance.

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A new study by Siegel+Gale has put forward that there is a single characteristic that unites, and has come to define the best performing consumer facing brands today. It all comes down to a single word: simplicity.

Simplicity, as part of an brand’s overall customer experience delivery, can mean anything from providing clear, concise product information, intuitive website navigation, a quick and easy checkout and transaction process, and indeed any number of consumer-centric practices that enhance the quality of the customer experience.

For brands that offer simplicity, a purchase is followed by a seamless post-purchase experience that does’t complicate proceedings, but maintains the relationship between brand and consumer.

Simplicity is also perpetuated by consumer perceptions.

Customers today are more vocal than ever about their experiences. This feedback can both guide and encourage your brand’s strategy and operations. It’s a consequence of an increasingly connected and transparent digital world. Consumers have access to, and are able to share, information when and where they want it.

Additionally, consumers are busier and more tuned towards convenience, which means that the quality of simplicity has understandably become a highly desirable trait for brands to possess.

What’s special about simplicity is that it’s something brands from all industries can aspire to. Siegel+Gale’s Simplicity Index puts supermarket, ALDI, at the number one position, while simplicity stalwart and furniture retailer, IKEA, has established a reputation for good value and efficiency over many years.

Financial services, airlines, and vehicle hire companies, generally score much lower in perceived simplicity, so in a way there’s even more of an emphasis on simplicity – it’s still very much a characteristic that is viewed very positively in these industries.

Which Brands Rule The Simplicity Index?

To determine which brands scored highest in simplicity, Siegel+Gale fielded an online survey with more than 12,000 respondents across eight countries.

The data reveals some fascinating insights.

German Brands Unlikely Victory

Just as they proved to be a high achiever at last summer’s World Cup, German brands performed exceptionally well for perceived simplicity. ALDI took the top spot for brands globally, with Lidl taking third position, and Miele appearing in ninth place. ALDI and Lidl are well known for their incredibly ability to combine quality produce and good value, and the way they achieve this is based upon simplicity - for example, rather than stocking numerous, competing brand offerings of the same product, they simply stock one or two high quality products. Equally, staffing is efficient without being deficient, and often a full size store can be manned by just a few staff at any particular time. They’ll be no tannoy with the latest offers, instead the stores create a quiet, pleasant environment in which to shop.

Digital Disruptors Get Simplicity

In terms of specific industries, the best performing brands were invariably from digital backgrounds, and Internet search. Google, Netflix, Amazon have become household names, their brand names taking on meaning in the English language, and all three were identified by consumers as offering simplicity in as part of their overall service experience.

The greatest risers in the index included digital disrupters such as Airbnb, Uber, freshdirect, and Nest. The study pointed out four areas that digital disrupters excel in delivering simplicity:

  • Empowering consumers (such as Airbnb allowing consumers to rent out or seek accommodation as an alternative to a hotel or hostel).
  • Reimagining experiences (such as Blue Apron’s fresh approach to cooking, delivering the exact quantities of particular ingredients for customers to complete a recipe).
  • Removing friction (such as Uber’s streamlining of taxi services, meaning consumers can hail a taxi service from anywhere with just a few taps on a smartphones).
  • Saving time (such as FreshDirect’s providing a grocery store experience, with consumers able to pick out fresh vegetables and produce, and still have them delivered, removing the need to go to a supermarket or grocery store).

Simplicity Affects Revenues

For the brands that embrace it, simplicity pays. Siegel+Gale’s study shows that the brand’s in the simplicity index outperformed market averages by 260 percent:

And to confirm how simplicity can make a real difference to revenues, respondents clearly indicated that they were prepared to pay a small premium to brands that offered simpler experiences. U.S. consumers indicated they would pay as much as 4 percent more for leading retail, electronics, and digital products, with similar results being recorded in other territories around the world.

Simplicity – The New Standard For Brands?

An fundamental value for all brands who follow the principles of momentology is providing customer-centric experiences, and simplicity has become a characteristic of brands who are adapting to put customers first.

Digital disruptors represent a new generation of companies who are challenging established orders, and in many cases, raising customer expectations. However established brands who value customers experiences also score highly for simplicity (the three German companies in the top 10 are a great example of this).

As the brands who are leading the way continue to refine the simplicity of their product offerings, redefining experiences, and establishing new expectations, simplicity too will likely become a key standard, a norm, that brands need to adhere to and deliver.

You can read Siegel+Gale’s full Simplicity Index study here.

Do you think simplicity represents a new standard for brands? Comment or tweet us @momentologyNews.