What consumers want from their brands

Daguerrotype of American philosopher and abolitionist, Henry David Thoreau

"Simplify, simplify."

In a word, simplicity. At least, that’s what branding firm Siegel + Gale reports in their third annual global brand simplicity index, which analyzed and compared 500 leading brands and key industries around the world “to understand how scale and different attributes of simplicity affect consumer perceptions.” Some findings:

1. Who’s on top? Leading brands in the US, starting with #1: Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, Google, Amazon, Netflix. Amazingly, Zappos, whose customer service is legendary, sits at #10. Top five global brands: Google, McDonalds, IKEA, C&A, Apple.

2. It’s ironic. The simplest global brand is Google. The least simple, Google+.

3. Want better word of mouth? 80% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand that delivers simpler communications and experiences.

4. Complication (the path of least resistance, old-think) is easy and gets in the way of innovation.

5. Simplicity is hard. It requires the courage to see things with fresh eyes, risk failure, re-think communications, mission and service.

6. Simpler brands are profitable brands. Consumers will pay more for simple (and presumably more rewarding) brand interactions than unnecessarily complicated and unpleasant ones.

True to its own recommendations, the report is beautifully designed with clear graphics, well-written content and actionable information. Nothing too clever by half. Every page is a treasure and proof that simplicity is its own reward.

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