Global brand strategy, design, and experience consultancy Siegel+Gale has announced the findings of the sixth annual Global Brand Simplicity Index™. Leading discount supermarket chain ALDI topped the list as the world’s simplest brand for the third year running, while Lidl dominated the UK rankings. The study, based on an online survey of more than 12,000 respondents across eight countries, ranks 585 brands based on their perceived simplicity.
“The Global Brand Simplicity Index has shown year after year that the benefits of simplicity remain constant,” commented Howard Belk, Co-CEO and Chief Creative Officer, at Siegel+Gale. “Brands that offer simpler customer experiences are rewarded with passionate customer loyalty, more innovative employees and greater revenue. In short, embracing simplicity improves the bottom line for brands and organisations.”
ALDI, Google, and Lidl stay securely in the top three spots this year, demonstrating a stalwart commitment to keeping things simple for customers.
As part of this year’s study, Siegel+Gale interviewed marketing leaders and founders of brands that have consistently performed well in the index, to understand why and how they provide simpler experiences, for both employees and customers. One such interview was with Georgina O'Donnell, Lidl UK Head of Communications.
Q: How do you try to make your brand simple? Is it something you really work on, or is it just a by-product of what your company already does?
GO (Georgina O’Donnell): Simplicity is part of Lidl's DNA. It's ingrained in our core business model and dictates every decision we make as a company. It's why we are able to keep prices low whilst maintaining the high quality that our customers expect from us. For example, we offer a limited range of products because we don't see the need to overwhelm our customers with choice. Why offer a confusing amount of products when you can focus on offering a limited range of the highest quality at a price that suits most budgets, helping to take the hard part of the decision making out for the shopper? This also allows us keep our overheads low, meaning we need less space than other supermarkets who require the infrastructure to stock up to 30,000 product lines.
Q: Is it - ironically - actually quite complicated to make your brand as simple as possible?
GO: Things are as complicated as you make them. Our business model hasn't changed since we launched in the UK. The world has changed dramatically however, and our business model has enabled us to adapt. As a result our market share is at a record high, and according to Kantar Worldpanel (Oct 15), Lidl UK was the fastest growing supermarket. Simplicity therefore seems to be working well for us.
Q: Do you think most people would find it surprising that two lost-cost German supermarkets are up there with the likes of high-tech west coast firms such as Google on this list? Are you yourself surprised by the results?
GO: It's certainly humbling. Whilst our roots are in Germany, we've worked tremendously hard over the years to establish ourselves as a British supermarket. Two thirds of our produce is British and we work with British suppliers as much as we can. As a result we're getting around 500,000 new customers through our doors each week, so we'd hope that these results don't come as too much of a surprise to them.
Q: Has simplicity become more important for major companies to achieve with the likes of Netflix, Uber and Airbnb shaking up established industries and changing the way their products or services are presented and offered to customers?
GO: We like to see ourselves as one of those challenger brands. We're offering customers an alternative way to conduct their main shop, and more people than ever are choosing to shop smarter.