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How do Brands Succeed? Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity

Siegel + Gale publishes an annual report on the world’s most successful brands and their relationship to a Brand Simplicity Index. The bottom line is that consumers are willing to pay a premium for experiences that are ‘clear, honest and efficient’. No surprise there. Wait. Except for the fact that in 2010, consumers were willing to pay a premium for simplicity. Good to know.

Siegel + Gale state that “there’s a growing global demand for simplicity. The organizations that can satisfy this demand will dictate the shape of the future.” In the US, the top 10 brands on the US Brand Simplicity Index are Netflix, Subway, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, Walmart, Trader Joes, Kroger, Starbucks and Old Navy. (An interesting side note here is that Gap, Inc. recently reported a ~40%+ increase in sales for 4th Quarter 2010, based on the strength of the revived Old Navy brand.)
Further, it was noted that consumers would be willing to pay a premium, up to 5% for a more simple experience in the Automotive, Fitness, Restaurants/Entertainment and Travel (train) categories and up to 4% for Health Insurance and Banking.

The message seems to be very clear here. Well, simple actually. Brands who have managed to simplify at all levels, with operations, customer experience and marketing messaging are able to experience growth and success. I’m curious to know who you would add to this list – who do you feel should rank high on the brand simplicity index?


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