Business development · 10 November 2015

Small firms should learn from the likes of Aldi and Lidl that keeping it simple works

Lidl is popular with UK consumers in particular, thanks to its uncomplicated approach
Lidl is popular with UK consumers in particular, thanks to its uncomplicated approach

Discount supermarkets proved popular in their simplicity with consumers, topping the sixth annual Global Brand Simplicity Index.

Lidl came first in the UK, while Aldi held its top rank globally for the third year running. The survey of more than 12,000 respondents across eight countries by Siegel + Gale ranked 585 brands based on their perceived simplicity, with consumers saying they preferred paying for simpler experiences.

Some 63 per cent said this was the case, and the less complicated the brand, the more people spoke about it – over two-thirds of respondents said they’d be more likely to recommend a brand because it was simple.

Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer at Siegel + Gale said the index showed that year after year “the benefits of simplicity remain constant”.

“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,” he added.

Brands on the index are ranked by a range of factors including the expansion of product offerings and improved communications. Aldi, Google and Lidl were consistent when it came to simplicity, holding the top three spots, as did last year.

McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC also all featured in the top ten, reflecting the value of quick service when done correctly – also translating to simple service.

Siegel + Gale also asked consumers in the US and UK to evaluate “regionally relevant disruptors” based on the simplicity of their products, services, interactions and communications. It defined disruptors as emerging brands that were changing consumer expectations and reshaping industry category definitions.

Based on the responses, it then compiled a list of five ways innovative brands were delivering simpler customer experiences:

(1) Empowering people – Side-stepping traditional industry protocols by shifting power to consumers.

(2) Reimagining experiences – Turning underwhelming experiences into moments of delight

(3) Removing friction – Identifying pain points in everyday processes and removing them.

(4) Saving time – Valuing people’s time by providing services to them where and when they need it most.

(5) Providing utility – Providing services that customers find useful.

Early-stage firms looking to build rapport with consumers should bear these in mind. David Srere, co-CEO and chief strategy officer at Siegel + Gale, said the disruptive brands succeeding in keeping things uncomplicated were incorporating simplicity “into everything they say and do, and in the process winning customer minds, hearts and all-important wallets”.

The top ten global brands for simplicity:

(1) ALDI

(2) Google

(3) Lidl

(4) Netflix

(5) McDonald’s

(6) Burger King

(7) IKEA

(8) YouTube

(9) eBay

(10) KFC

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

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