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.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

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.

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

Discover why brands and agencies choose Linkdex

  • Get started fast with easy onboarding & training
  • Import and connect data from other platforms
  • Scale with your business, websites and markets
  • Up-skill teams with training & accreditation
  • Build workflows with tasks, reporting and alerts

Get a free induction and experience of Linkdex.

Just fill out this form, and one of our team members will get in touch to arrange your own, personalized demo.