Turbulent times, economic uncertainty and instantaneous electronic communication make reducing complexity in everyday life a necessity, according to a new study released by global strategic branding firm Siegel+Gale. The second annual Global Brand Simplicity Index™ reveals that around the world and even across age groups, technology is universally acknowledged as a force for taming complexity. Technology brands, including Google, Amazon, Apple, Nokia and LG dominate the top 10 global brands.
Siegel+Gale’s 2011 Global Brand Simplicity Index™ surveyed more than 6,000 respondents in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America to uncover the perceived points of complexity and simplicity in people’s lives.
Simplicity Index respondents praise the power of simplicity in technology, saving them time and money, making their lives more efficient and opening up access to a wider world. Half of the top 10 global brands are technology, telecommunications or Internet brands. Apple vaulted into the top 10 at #5, which, in part, can be attributed to the successful launch of the iPad and the expanding list of authorized iPhone service providers beyond AT&T in the U.S. Last year Apple was ranked #29 in the survey.
Health insurance and general insurance industries finished last in this year’s survey, at 24th and 25th place, respectively. The insurance industry’s complex processes and lack of clarity regarding coverage continue to frustrate consumers. Respondents voice displeasure with insurers’ failures to offer clearly written policy documents and answer questions promptly and unambiguously. As a result, customers identified insurance as the least simple industry in almost every region surveyed.
The study also reveals that people continue to not only demand simpler communications and interactions, but are also willing to pay for them. Depending on the category, global consumers are willing to pay an average premium of 4.9 percent to 6.3 percent for simpler communications and experiences. In the U.S., UK and Germany alone, brands that offer increased simplicity stand to capture close to $30 billion.
Siegel+Gale’s Global Brand Simplicity Index™ demonstrates the power of simplicity in forging meaningful relationships between brands and consumers. This correlation between simplicity and loyalty is demonstrated by noteworthy findings throughout each region surveyed. In China, for example, 91 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand that offers a simpler and more straightforward experience.
Siegel+Gale used the survey results to develop its Global Brand Simplicity Index™, which generates a Simplicity Score™, a rating of each brand and its category on the 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.
Globally brands ranked from a high of 955 (leaders) to a low of 459 (laggards).
“Simplicity is a powerful tool that strengthens customer relationships and dramatically increases customer loyalty,” said Alan Siegel, founder and chairman of Siegel+Gale. “As our survey demonstrates, consumers in countries around the world are constantly seeking greater simplicity in their lives. Brands that recognize the value of offering experiences that are clear, direct and easily transmitted will forge lasting relationships with their customers in today’s increasingly cluttered and complex world.”
Perceptions of simplicity by occupational status vary tremendously among regions based on culture and social policies. In Germany, those who are unemployed rate their lives as significantly simpler than other occupational classes, primarily due to government programs that provide a wide range of benefits.
When it comes to relationships, respondents found family and friends easier to handle than situations they faced at work and in romance. Friendship is first in simplicity in the United States, India and the United Kingdom followed by family. In China, Germany and the Middle East, family is first, followed by friendship.
Read the full report here.
About the 2011 Global Brand Simplicity Index™
Siegel+Gale’s Global Brand Simplicity Index™ is an output of global brand ratings based on an online survey of more than 6,000 consumers in seven different countries. Each rating comprises the simplicity/complexity of a brand’s interactions and communications in relation to their industry peers. The index also incorporates an industry simplicity score for a particular brand’s industry/category(ies). The annual research study was first conducted in 2010.