I'm partial to simplicity, so when Howard Belk, Co-President and CEO, Chief Creative Officer, and Brian Rafferty, Global Director of Customer Insights, from Siegel+Gale, addressed simplicity during BRITE Conference '12, I was all ears!
They discussed a recent global research project which examined how brand simplicity matters across 25 categories and 7 countries. The global brand simplicity index explored which brands make life simpler or more complex for consumers around the world.
Interestingly, people will pay for relationships which are simpler to understand and more direct to the tune of a "simplicity premium" that ranges from 2.5 to 5.5%! [See image below to see how simplicity benefits brand profitability.]
Simplicity not only drives customer preference, but it also drives brand loyalty [e.g., Nokia has simplified life via mobile devices in many third world countries. Social media, on the other hand, is a mixed bag given the hassle of having to manage multiple identities and platforms].
I enjoyed the thought-provoking nature of the observations:
- Simplicity relates to the promises made to customers and whether those expectations are met.
- Email is considered one of the simplest forms of communication.
- The tablet offers a promise of simplicity because it has no keyboard.
- Retail simplicity reflects the convergence of online and offline: price is simpler online, but quality is easier to determine offline.
The most striking example that Belk and Rafferty brought up had to do with credit card agreements which are deliberately complex and confusing. They took a 32 page document and condensed it to a one page agreement with key points. Doing so creates a positive impression on customers, benefitting relationship building.
Tips for Brand Marketing on How to Simplify:
- Think experience [e.g., simplifying the credit card agreement]
- Think human [anticipate the needs of customers, bring empathy to product development, offer speed, customize products and services to the relationship]
- Think innovation [e.g., Apple Genius Bar]
- Think consistency [e.g., Target]
The only surprise you want is a pleasant surprise!
Listen to Belk and Rafferty describe how simplicity matters to brand marketing in this 14 minute video.
And here is a link to the Simplicity Matters in Brand Marketing presentation on Slideshare.
What has your experience been with simplicity? Have you radically simplified aspects of your business? Have you customers noticed? What were their reactions?