MindFire Communications, Inc.
The value of simplicity
December 10, 2012 | Lynn Manternach, Ph.D.

Did you know consumers are willing to pay more for simpler brand experiences?

Simpler brand experiences pay off. According to Siegel & Gale’s 2012 Global Brand Simplicity Index, consumers are clamoring for simplicity more than ever before.

Consumers say they will pay between 4 percent and 6 percent more for brands they believe offer more simplicity than their competitors, according to the Siegel & Gale research.

In addition, 80 percent of consumers said they are more likely to recommend a brand that offers simpler experiences and communications. Simple brand experiences stand out to consumers because they are not as common as consumers want them to be. That‘s why consumers reward simple brands with public praise and personal recommendations.

Businesses should be clamoring for simplicity as well. Simpler brand experiences promote peace of mind with consumers, inspire confidence and generate brand loyalty. If you want their business, you need to keep it simple. Be clear, responsive and authentic.

Businesses that can keep it simple have more successful relationships with consumers. Simple brand ideas result in powerful and memorable branding people immediately connect with. For consumers, simple brands not only get into their heads faster, but they stay there longer. They save time, money and minimize debate over decisions.

The top three brands in the Global Brand Simplicity Index are Google, McDonald’s and IKEA. Among consumers in the United States, the top three brands are Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and Google.

Companies of all sizes can benefit from the simplicity-focused strategies and approaches those at the top of the list have mastered.

Consistently clear communication is one of the most critical aspects of brand simplicity. This is not easy, especially in complex industries like insurance, banking and health care. But delivering a simple brand experience is especially rewarding for both the consumers and the brand if you can get it right.

How do you communicate clearly? Avoid jargon. Don’t make things more complex than they need to be. Consumers want to be able to easily access and absorb the information they need to make good decisions. Companies that know how to provide that information in a clear and straightforward way will be rewarded by consumers.

Provide a seamless connection to consumers, regardless of whether a transaction happens online, over the phone, through the media or face-to-face. Consumers are increasingly interacting with brands through multiple channels, and they expect you to track with them seamlessly, regardless of where they choose to interact with you. Make it easy for consumers to transition from your online site to your Facebook page to your retail store.

Focus on the customer experience and remove complexity from the process as much as possible. Consumers crave a simple and straightforward customer experience. Make it easy for them to find what they want. Use technology as much as possible to simplify, customize and anticipate customer needs.

Simplicity is not just a communications or marketing initiative. For companies that excel at providing simplicity for consumers, it’s a core component of their brand.

Providing a simple brand experience is an ongoing process. Complexity creeps in, and you have to stay vigilant to keep things simple.

Employees are a critical part of this process. When an organization’s brand is simple and real, employees easily understand what their brand stands for. Make sure everyone in your organization understands the points of interaction that have the greatest potential to impact consumer brand perceptions. This helps employees see how their role influences the brand experience. That’s important, because it’s their ability to guide the brand experience for customers that makes all the difference.

Providing a simple brand experience is anything but simple. And the bigger the business, the more difficult it is to stay focused on simplicity. But it is essential, and it has the potential to be profitable. It’s a huge competitive advantage and one of the best ways to make sure you stay relevant to what your consumers want.

Dr. Lynn Manternach is brand arsonist and president at MindFire Communications Inc. (www.mindfirecomm.com) in Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities. Contact Lynn at lmanternach@mindfirecomm.com or @lmanternach on Twitter.

This article originally appeared in the Corridor Business Journal.


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