China’s Baidu Claims Top Spot in Simplicity Survey

December 6, 2011

Siegel+Gale’s 2011 Global Brand Simplicity Index™ Also Reveals Chinese Consumers Value Technology in Making Simpler Experiences and Interactions

BEIJING AND SHANGHAI, DECEMBER 6, 2011 – Reflecting a broader global trend, Chinese consumers view technology as a valuable asset for the simplification of complex lifestyles. The top five industries are all technology-driven, with Internet search and Internet retail coming in at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

This is a key finding from Siegel+Gale’s 2011 Global Brand Simplicity Index™, which surveyed more than 6,000 consumers across seven countries to uncover perceived points of complexity and simplicity in people’s lives.

Baidu occupies the top spot in the Index, with consumers citing the search engine’s delivery of more relevant results to the Chinese market. Five of the top 10 brands are Chinese, including Baidu, eHi Car Service, 360buy, Home Inns and Vancl. Technology companies Apple, Nokia, HTC and BlackBerry also ranked among the leaders in providing simpler experiences and interactions.

Insurance brands are viewed as the most complex industries in China, with health insurance and general insurance landing in the last two spots among 25 brands. In fact, the bottom five positions of the index are occupied by Chinese insurance companies, with respondents citing challenges when trying to understand the payment terms of a claim and when filing a claim.

The Simplicity Index also revealed that Chinese consumers are willing to pay more for brands that help create a less complex lifestyle. According to the survey, Chinese consumers are willing to pay between 4.7 and 7.1 percent more for brands that offer simple experiences and interactions. This Simplicity Premium™ is the added value people would place on having less complex experiences with brands in various industries. The Chinese industries with the most to gain from minimizing complexities include restaurants and entertainment.

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 painful typical interactions are in relation to industry peers.

The 2011 China Brand Simplicity Index™ top 10 brands include:

China Top 10 Brands

In China, brands ranked from a high of 1,085 (leaders) to a low of 439 (laggards).

“The results of this study show that Chinese consumers value the role of technology in their daily lives,” said Eric Lin, general manager, Siegel+Gale Shanghai. “Simpler experiences driven by the Internet, new electronics technologies and mobile devices are changing the average consumer’s lifestyle. In addition, brands that are adopting the use of new technologies to facilitate clear communications will ultimately be rewarded by consumers who are willing to pay more for simpler experiences.”

“Global brands performed strongly this year, despite local Baidu landing the top position,” said Warren Wang, managing director of Siegel+Gale China. “The survey also demonstrates that technology is the ‘great enabler,’ and its usage supports the trend that efficiency in consumer interactions will increase profits in all industries.”

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About the 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).

About Siegel+Gale

Siegel+Gale is a global strategic branding firm committed to building world-class brands through elegantly simple, unexpectedly fresh strategies, stories and experiences. With Simple is Smart as its operating philosophy, Siegel+Gale delivers powerful services in brand development, simplification, research and digital strategy.

Since its founding by branding pioneer Alan Siegel in 1969, Siegel+Gale has helped drive business results for brands such as Aetna, American Express, Bank of America, China Youth Development Foundation, Dell, Dow Chemical Company, The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the Internal Revenue Service, The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Microsoft, Motorola, Pfizer, Qatar Telecom, SAP, Sony PlayStation, Yahoo! and the YMCA.

Siegel+Gale has offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Hamburg, Dubai, Shanghai and Beijing and strategic partnerships around the world as a member of the Omnicom Group of companies.

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