Your complexity is showing
by Charlene Raytek
Your customers see it. We see it. And now so can you.
With the launch of Siegel+Gale’s 2012 Global Brand Simplicity Index, there's no ambiguity about what customers find simple or complex. Complexity is real—customers feel it, read it, hear it and experience it—and in this year's Simplicity Index, we show you the winners and losers in each industry and region.
The good news is that simplicity is also real and customers know it when they see it. The recently published study goes beyond the brands to ask consumers about their interactions with companies—in person and online, through product experiences and interactions with employees. What we found is surprising. Some brands have staked a solid claim to a simplified experience and the brand rankings bear out that commitment and investment. Other industries and brands remain troubled, sliding down further out of favor. The year-over-year rankings are quite telling with banking and insurance doing little to course correct for transgressions around increasing fees and diminishing service.
When I first joined Siegel+Gale in the mid-1980's, I remember thinking that simplification as a practice would be unnecessary once a C-suite leader in each industry stepped forward and owned simplicity with his or her heart and soul. I was certain that the principles of simplification were so compelling, even obvious, that an industry leader (airline, insurance, banking, insurance) would be able to drive the simplicity ethos throughout their brand.
That has hardly been the case.
Complexity continues to be a storm cloud in many industries and simplicity continues to shine through for the committed brands that navigate unwavering toward customer needs and wants. They shall be rewarded with the “Simplicity Premium,” proving once again in this year's research that customers are willing to pay more for an exceptional experience that is simple.
Simplicity isn't for the meek and it isn't always easy, but it's the right thing to do. Several of the brands that skyrocketed up the rankings did so after considered planning, strategic initiatives and a commitment from the top. And a note to those brands that are slowly inching up the charts, which at this measuring point may be mid-stream in a larger repositioning to better serve clients…we'll see you next year.
Charlene Raytek is strategy director, Simplification, for Siegel+Gale’s New York office.