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Online brands help UK consumers simplify their lives

Online brands help UK consumers simplify their lives

Turbulent times and economic uncertainty make reducing complexity in everyday life a necessity, according to a new study released by global strategic brand consultancy Siegel+Gale.

The company’s second annual Global Brand Simplicity Index™ reveals that consumers in the UK consider brands with strong online credentials as the backbone to taming complexity. Simplicity Index respondents praised the power of simplicity of online retail, saving them time and money, making their lives more efficient and opening up access to a wider world. This is reflected in the top ten brands for both the UK and globally, with brands that use online mechanisms to lure customers into physical stores and hotels earning the highest praise from consumers.

Among the leaders in the UK are Google, Amazon, John Lewis, Tesco and Travelodge. Rounding out the top ten are McDonald’s, BBC and Apple. However, respondents also noted that the utilities industry could learn something from the research. Npower and EDF Energy were ranked at the bottom for simplicity, reflecting mounting concerns over complex billing structures and unsatisfactory customer service.

The government has encouraged people to check that they are on the cheapest available energy tariff and whether they could save money by paying by direct debit, but this research indicates consumers do not find this simple. Health insurance and general insurance industries also struggled, finishing last in this year’s survey, at 23th and 25th place, respectively.

The insurance industry’s complex processes and lack of clarity regarding coverage continue to frustrate consumers. Respondents voiced displeasure with insurers’ failures to offer clearly written policy documents and answer questions promptly and unambiguously.

UK brands have much to gain if they can effectively streamline their communications and experiences for their consumers. UK respondents said they would pay over £2.75bn a year for simpler communications and experiences represented in the Index, and 87.7 percent are more likely to recommend a brand because it makes their customer experience simpler. Some of the least simple industries have the most to gain: utilities (£419m), banks (£460m) and general insurers (£506m).

"Brands that provide simpler interactions and experiences are winning the battle to standout in the competitive marketplace,” said Philip Davies, President, EMEA. “Simplicity is a powerful tool that helps brands get into consumers’ heads faster, and stay there for longer. As the UK continues to struggle in economic uncertainty, those brands that offer experiences that are clear, direct and easily communicated will forge ahead by generating strong customer loyalty.”

Across all industries, UK consumers are willing to pay between 2.7 and 5.2 percent more for brands they believe offer the greatest degree of simplicity. This represents a Simplicity Premium™, the added value people would place on having a more simplified experience with brands in various industries. Siegel+Gale used the survey results to develop the 2011 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 typical interactions are in relation to industry peers.

According to the 2011 Global Brand Simplicity Index™, the UK’s top 10 brands are: # Brand Brand Simplicity Index Score™

1 Google 970

2 Amazon 941

3 John Lewis 917

4 Tesco 897

5 Travelodge 864

6 853

7 Premier Inn 853

8 McDonald’s 851

9 BBC 844

10 Apple 830

In the UK, brands ranked from a high of 970 (leaders) to a low of 275 (laggards). To read the full survey results click 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. Siegel+Gale’s Global Brand Simplicity Index™ aims to demonstrate 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.


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