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011 2 u eas ount ull m e it c he f her con pli f sim st re o s mo sum city ers :global and T w nds bra forbrandsimplicityindEX Published on December 7, 2011
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011letter from the cEoWe all seek simplicity.the circumstances vary from generation to generationand culture to culture, but the instinct is universal and itsimplications in the global marketplace indisputable.it sends messages that are clear, direct and unfetteredby the unnecessary. it expresses itself in ways that areeasily transmitted and translated. in business, simplicitycreates an environment that promotes peace of mindwith consumers, inspires confidence and generatesbrand loyalty. 2
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011Simplicity is elemental, essential and profitable.The 2011 global brand simplicity added questions relating specifically employ simplicity succeed by getting confirmation number arriving in lockstepindextm articulates and underscores the to technology, Internet shopping and out of their own way and, in doing so, with an online transaction.across-the-board demand for simplicity social media. drawing customers closer. But whatever the industry or thefrom consumers trying to navigate Because while the introduction of the When properly applied, simplicity product, the companies that effectivelytheir way through an increasingly iPad made 2010 a technological game- serves purpose. It gets into our heads employ simplicity tend to come outcomplicated world crowded with both changer, 2011 was the year mobile faster and stays there longer, helps us on top, the wisdom of their approachreal and virtual clutter. technology took unprecedented hold, make choices, saves time, money and reflected time and again in their marketCompanies that respond to the fully embedding itself into our daily lives. minimises debate over decisions. share and stock performance.collective cry for transparency, easy Consider the level of public engagement This year’s report takes an industry-by- That, however, is only half of theaccess and clear presentation—i.e., surrounding the death of Steve Jobs, industry look at the state of simplicity. equation. Consumers are, after all,simplicity—gain on the bottom line the co-founder of Apple. As one human and whether connectivityand beyond. Some industries, we found, are just Washington Post writer put it: “People is achieved online, over the phone, simple by nature—the need to feed, forIn our first global brand simplicity built their lives around the objects Steve through the media or face-to-face, example, drives the primal give-and-index study in 2010, we confirmed just Jobs gave them: the MacBook, the iPod, in the end it’s all about perception take of a fast-food restaurant. Others,how much simplicity pays. This year, we the iPhone, the iPad.” and relationships. It’s about how we like insurance, are more complex.wanted to dig deeper—to quantify the experience our lives and, by extension, But progress and invention bring theirimpact of technology and the Internet In healthcare, simplicity contributes how companies and products do or own complications. And achieving ain particular—and further identify and to wellness; in retail, it facilitates don’t relate to that experience. state of simplicity has never been thatanalyse the attributes of simplicity the ease of purchase and yields simple to begin with. In the United States, the United(and, conversely, complexity) coursing higher rates of sales; in the world of Kingdom, Germany, China, Indiathrough our wired world. “You can’t believe how hard it is for telecommunications, it cuts through and the Middle East where we people to be simple, how much they the static, connects and informs us,In 2010, we found older respondents felt conducted our research, several fear being simple,” former GE CEO through space and time.technology added layers of complexity recurring themes presented themselves Jack Welch once observed.to their lives while the young concluded Simplicity manifests itself in an endless in the aggregate and in sometimesquite the opposite. So in 2011, we Nobody really wants a complicated variety of forms. It can be as fashionably particularly personal responses.followed that thread and included far relationship—certainly not in the world elegant as that must-have little blackmore Internet brands in our survey and of business. The businesses that dress or as purely functional as the 3
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011When properly applied, simplicity serves a purpose. It gets intoour heads faster and stays there longer, helps us make choices,saves time, money and minimises debate over decisions.6,026 PeoPle Ease of communication is the No.1 Sincerely, reason the world thinks technology makes their lives easier.across 7 But respondents voiced concerns, too, about the double-edge sword of Howard Belk technology. We can connect, they said. Co-CEO, Chief Creative Officer But we are under pressure to always be on. It saves time but demandscountries time. There’s less privacy and more dependency. And with each new generation of innovation and hardware, there’s a new learning curve. David B. Srereevaluated Co-CEO, Chief Strategy Officer So, they concluded, unequivocally and almost universally, if you want our business, keep it simple: Be straight. Be clear. Be quick and be real.consuMer Consumers are so serious about simplicity they’re willing to pay for it— between 5 percent and 6.5 percent extra, depending on the category. Thatbrands. translates to $30 billion at stake in the U.S., UK and Germany alone. For brands in need of motivation, it doesn’t get any simpler than that. 4
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011Table of contentsletter from the cEo................................................. 2–4 the state of simplicity by region United States................................................... 35–44Executive summary.................................................. 6 United Kingdom............................................... 45–54 Germany.......................................................... 55–64the state of simplicity—global............................... 8–20 Middle East...................................................... 65–73 Relationships................................................... 9–10 India................................................................. 74–82 Technology...................................................... 11 China............................................................... 83–91the state of simplicity by industry methodology............................................................. 92 Electronics/Appliances.................................... 22 Telecom............................................................ 23 about siegel+gale.................................................... 94 Social Media..................................................... 24 Internet Search................................................. 25 News Media..................................................... 26 Retail................................................................ 27–28 Retail Banking.................................................. 29 General Insurance............................................ 30 Health Insurance.............................................. 31 Utilities............................................................. 32 Travel................................................................ 33 Automotive....................................................... 34 Shipping........................................................... 34 5
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011Executive summarysimplicity continUEs to mattEr and pay Among the highlights: Ways to simpliFyIn our first study in 2010, we found that people were Retail: Think experience:willing to pay more for simpler communications and There’s a bona fide opportunity for simplicity-based Take a customer-centric approach to everything,experiences from brands. This trend continued in 2011, profit at the nexus of retail and technology. Online retail including typically ignored touchpoints like bills, labelswith global Simplicity Premiums averaging between offers the simplest overall shopping experience by far, and service interactions.5 percent and 6.5 percent depending on industry— but still lags in-store for obtaining advice, assessing Think human:leaving billions on the table. merchandise quality and returning purchases. Devise processes and communications to better serveOur Simplicity Portfolio, which is comprised of stocks Technology: people rather than merely increase efficiency.from the leading global Simplicity Index brands, As a growing, worldwide, consumerist culture interacts Think innovation:continues to outperform the major indexes. and intersects with technology, both the sector and the Look to technology as a tool to simplify, not just brands with a focus on simplicity are rising to the topsimplicity bUilds loyalty dazzle. Find unexpected ways your brand can simplify of the index. A compelling 81 percent of respondents its experience and use these to gain differentiationSimplicity is not just about short-term returns. A worldwide say that technology simplifies their lives. and loyalty.sustained investment in simplified communications Google and Amazon top the worldwide list of simpleand experiences breeds more extensive and enduring consumer brands. Think consistency:brand loyalty. More than 82 percent of respondents Focus on delivering a consistent and true experience simplicity WinnErs and losErsglobally said they would be more likely to recommend across all touchpoints and communications.a brand that provided simpler communications The winning and losing brands cluster by industry,and experiences. with technology, media and retail brands dominating the top of the list and insurance and utilities crowdingEntirE indUstriEs sUccEEd dUE togrEatEr simplicity the bottom. Brands with a clear sense of identity, focused on consistent experience and communications,Having established the inextricable link between came up the big winners. Simple brands are simplysimplicity and industry categories in 2010, we took a easier to understand. They live longer in memory. Theymuch deeper look at the meaning of simplicity within minimise—or at least don’t add to—the complexitydifferent industries in 2011. bedeviling people’s lives. 6
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011—GlobalSimple can be harder thancomplex: You have to workhard to get your thinkingclean to make it simple.But it’s worth it in the endbecause once you get there,you can move mountains.—Steve Jobs 7
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011relationshipsLove or work, simply?turns out that there’s nothing like friends andfamily after all. When it comes to relationships,respondents the world over found family and friendseasier to handle than the complications they facedat work and in romance.Friendship was first in simplicity in the without interfering in the running of China had the largest overall having mixed results at best: manyUnited States, India and the United their daily lives.” relationship spread with family rated respondents see as many complicationsKingdom followed by family, while family far simpler than all other relationships. in their interactions with the sector as GPS has made life less complicatedwas No. 1 in China, Germany and the they do simplifications. and volatile, too, giving direction to On the global scale, respondents saidMiddle East, followed by friendship. the many who might otherwise find their relationships get simpler with age— LinkedIn is one of the bottom globalRomance was seen as the most themselves confused, lost and angry. with the notable exception of the Middle brands in terms of simplicity, butcomplicated of all relationships in the East where relationships are simple there’s a real opportunity for the brand “With GPS, there are no disputes in ourU.S., India and the Middle East, and from 18–39 and 60 and older, but are that succeeds—where LinkedIn has family during long car rides,” says onework was next in line. China, Germany seen as less simple from ages 40–59. failed—to find a new way to simplify German respondent.and the UK had an easier time with the workplace. Finally, men find relationships slightlyromance than work. Social networks cut both ways, making simpler than women in all countries The same is true of romance. it easier on the one hand, to connectTechnology was seen as a key except the UK. with faraway and long lost friends, but The brand that manages to notconnector in keeping relationships also contributing to complexity with What’s the lesson for brands here? only bring people together but alsosimple through ease of communication an implied demand to be “always help them navigate their romanticwith photo and video sharing reinforcing First, that there is still work to be done on,” respond faster, and maintain— relationships in a more simplifiedthose personal ties. and money to be made in simplifying if not create whole cloth—a separate fashion could be the next Facebook. relationships. Our findings on social One UK respondent was particularly online persona. Others found life Assuming, of course, that Facebook media, a new category and set of grateful for text messaging, saying, complicated by their inability to doesn’t get there first. brands we added to this year’s study,“Text has been the best thing as I can separate work from their personal show that social media brands are keep in touch with my daughters… life because of technology. 9
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011Results in: Simple ComplexUnited Statesand India 1. Friendship 2. Family 3. Work 4. RomanticGermanyand China 1. Family 2. Friendship 3. Romantic 4. WorkUnited Kingdom 1. Friendship 2. Family 3. Romantic 4. WorkMiddle East 1. Family 2. Friendship 3. Work 4. Romantic 10
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011technologyThe generational impact of technologyWherever we went in the world, the Technology even made them feel safer. Familiarity doEsn’t brEEd contEmptanswers to our questions about the But concerns and complaints arrived inimpact of technology on simplicity tandem with the acknowledgments. 8.43 8.43lead to two connected conclusions: 8.36technology brings simplicity to our The presumed need to be tethered tolives but there is a price to be paid technology—to always be “on” with 7.96 7.91 7.55 7.48 colleagues and friends—finished first in 7.17 7.16for progress. the list of most complicating attributesAcross the globe, ease of communications globally. Many saw their time beingwas considered technology’s greatest sucked away amid all the texts, emailscontribution to a more simplified life, and virtual social interactions and felt social media smartphonewhich was supported by overall results. mp3 player the pressure that came with the higher computer ereaderEmail and phone ranked in the top three Simplicity expectations of instant responses and phone tablet Emailsimplest technology products. gps the ramp-up time necessary to keepRespondents agreed that technology pace with new improvements.saved them time, saved them money, Despite all the hype about the iPad and the rapid growth of themade their lives more efficient, more tablet market, computers and email still rank simpler than tablets.convenient and gave them greater simplicity WitH agE?access to a wider world. While younger generations and retireesThey sang the praises, too, of the think technology greatly simplifies theirsimple virtues of online banking lives, older generations still working findand shopping. They were grateful technology most challenging.for technology’s ability to speed up Technology has made my life easier comparedhousehold chores and stay connected to my mother’s and grandmother’s. I give fullto others. They appreciated GPS-aided ability to get home faster in credit to technology when it comes to takingthe first place. care of my baby, my husband and myself. 11 —HoUsEWiFE in tHE middlE East
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011—Global Global: Simplicity by Industry 1000Simple 900 + cross the globe, the search engine, Internet A retail and mobile phone industries are creating simple experiences through usable technology 800 and communications. 700 600 500 400 Restaurants/Entertainment general (department/big box) 300 restaurants/Entertainment Electronics/Appliances Travel and Hospitality General Insurance 200 Health Insurance general insurance Health insurance cable providers Retail Banking internet search Shipping/Mail mobile phones retail banking internet retail shipping/mail Heath/beauty social media Automotive automotive Electronics appliances car rental 100 booking grocery FashionComplex Telecom Utilities Fitness Utilities Hotels news Media Retail train air 0 The Simplicity Score is a normalised composite based on ratings on key elements of our Simplicity LabTM methodology, including stated 12 simplicity, ease of understanding, transparency, caring, innovation and usefulness of communications as well as how painful or not typical interactions are.
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011—GlobalThe Simplicity Premium can increase profits for many industries.Depending on the industry, between 7 percent and 19 percent of peopleare willing to pay more for simpler experiences and interactions. Theamount they are willing to pay varies by industry, but is significant.For simpler experiences, people would pay:6.3% 6% 5.5% 5% more more more more Restaurants/ Travel:Train Media:InternetSearch Travel:Hotels SocialMedia Entertainment NewsMedia Travel:Air Retail:Grocery Retail:Fashion Retail:Fitness Retail:Health/Beauty Utilities Retail:General Retail:Internet Appliances Electronics Automotive Shipping/Mail HealthInsurance Telecom:MobilePhones 13
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011—GlobalGlobal: Brand Simplicity Index1–29:LeaderS, 30–58: MIddLe-OF-THe-PaCK, 59–87: LaGGardS % Change % Change Rank Brand BSI from 2010 Rank Brand BSI from 2010 1 Google 955 NA 20 Dell 775 10% Automotive 2 Amazon 885 5% 21 Audi 772 8% RetailBanking 3 IKEA 882 NA 22 SUBWAY 765 -5% Electronics/Appliances 4 McDonalds 867 2% 23 Yahoo! 764 NA GeneralInsurance 5 Apple 861 25% 24 Toyota 762 5% 6 Nokia 859 1% 25 Puma 759 NA HealthInsurance 7 Pizza Hut 853 5% 26 HP 758 12% Media 8 Marks Spencer 844 14% 27 Holiday Inn 756 9% Restaurants/Entertainment 9 LG 843 NA 28 iTunes 755 NA Retail 10 Starbucks 842 3% 29 YouTube 753 NA Shipping/Mail 11 Carrefour 836 7% 30 Canon 753 6% Telecom 12 Siemens 831 4% 31 HM 751 0% Travel 13 Sony 827 10% 32 Honda 748 23% Utilities 14 Samsung 814 11% 33 Hilton 741 NA 15 CA 809 NA 34 BMW 738 31% 16 Walmart 807 -1% 35 Philips 738 NABrands that were rated in at least two 17 Motorola 786 NA 36 Nike 735 -2%geographies have been ranked in the 18 Boots 786 -2% 37 Adidas 732 -2%Global Brand Simplicity Index. 19 KFC 781 -5% 38 Debenhams 731 6% 14
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011—GlobalGlobal: Brand Simplicity Index (continued)1–29:LeaderS, 30–58: MIddLe-OF-THe-PaCK, 59–87: LaGGardS % Change % Change % ChangeRank Brand BSI from 2010 Rank Brand BSI from 2010 Rank Brand BSI from 2010 39 O2 729 NA 58 Reebok 683 -10% 77 Bupa 588 NA 40 Burger King 729 -12% 59 Google+ 683 NA 78 Ramada 583 NA 41 eBay 725 6% 60 Bosch 679 NA 79 Budget 572 1% 42 Vodafone 723 1% 61 DHL 679 12% 80 AXA 562 0% 43 Facebook 715 NA 62 ZARA 677 6% 81 Hertz 548 -4% 44 Volkswagen 713 12% 63 ING 676 NA 82 LinkedIn 540 NA 45 Microsoft 712 NA 64 Gap 675 7% 83 Peugeot 538 26% 46 BlackBerry 710 NA 65 Marriott 675 NA 84 Allianz 531 -1% 47 Mercedes-Benz 707 NA 66 Twitter 674 NA 85 Enterprise 522 -11% 48 easyJet 706 3% 67 Nissan 664 17% 86 Ryanair 473 -12% 49 Expedia 706 NA 68 Ford 660 10% 87 GE 459 NA 50 Sephora 704 NA 69 Best Western 648 NA 51 Topshop 697 NA 70 Panasonic 638 NA 52 MSN 694 NA 71 Sky 632 NA 53 Haier 691 NA 72 Avis 624 13% 54 HSBC 691 48% 73 Virgin Mobile 602 NA 55 UPS 689 10% 74 Bing 601 NA 56 FedEx 687 2% 75 Europcar 599 14% 57 Citibank 685 41% 76 Groupon 589 NA 15
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011—Global Simplicity still pays Building on the trend from 2010, investing in a stock portfolio based on simplicity continues to beat the major indexes. A portfolio made from the publically traded top 10 global simplest brands outperforms and is less volatile than the major indexes. 80% Simplicity Portfolio SP 60% Dow FTSE% growth of index/portfolio DAX 40% 20% 0% 20% 09 09 9 9 9 09 9 09 09 9 9 09 09 09 9 0 0 10 0 10 10 0 0 10 11 11 1 1 1 11 1 11 11 1 -0 r-0 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 r-1 -1 l-1 -1 -1 -1 r-1 -1 l-1 -1 n- b- n- g- p- c- n- b- n- g- p- c- n- b- n- g- p- ar ar ar ay ly ct ov ay ct ov ay ct Ju Ju Ap Ap Ap De De Ja Ju Ja Ju Ja Ju Au Au Au Fe Se Fe Se Fe Se Ju M M M O O O M M M N N The Simplicity Portfolio is comprised of the publicly traded stocks of the top 10 brands from the Global Brand Simplicity Index. 20
thestate ofsiMPlicityby indUstryIn 2010, we saw that the industry category had a strong impact onhow simple or not a brand was perceived to be. In 2011, we have delveddeeper into individual industries, uncovering the simple, the complexand the plain ugly. Within industries, media and technology reign andinsurance fails; however, in each industry, there are winners and losersto learn from. 21
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011 Electronics/appliancesTechnology, where the drive to simplify is a primal force,is not without its paradoxes. As a symbol of elegant simplicity, Apple Sitting near the bottom of this year’s ranked first among electronics and global list is Panasonic with its appliances companies in the Global everything-but-the-kitchen-sink product Brand Simplicity Index and the 5th most line that puts televisions, phones, simple brand overall. DVD players, cameras and more into one virtual bin. Out of 25 industries, electronics and appliances ranked 4th and 5th Apple remains almost ruthlessly simple ucts respectively, contributing six brands in that regard and, in doing so, has Prod logy in the top 20 (even more than quick- been able to not only charge a premium, no service restaurants). Apple’s success but have customers wear the expense ech lE Fo rT and its ranking is a function of more as a badge of honor. mp than its iconic devices. It’s also due in It’s a compelling dynamic where simple si = large part to its consumer experience equals status. focus in all aspects of its business— from point of purchase to packaging Us to service. UK rEspondEnt: at On the one hand, the steady stream “Apple is clear about their products, what they do and what they stand st of innovation continues to make it for and, in the end, deliver what easier for consumers to watch, listen, they promise.” share and communicate. But many companies in acquisition mode have expanded their profiles and portfolios and incorporated such a sea of product models and technology types that many customers feel lost as they attempt to navigate their way to a simple purchase. 22
telecomIt makes perfect sense to us that a truly simple industrygave birth to something called the smartphone.Mobile phones (handsets and providers) Nokia offers both smartphones and phones, finishing 13th out of 25 globallyranked No. 3 globally in the field of 25 standard mobile phones.) in our survey. While mobile phones areindustries. In fact, 78 percent of global seen as a simple offering, the world of BlackBerry was seen as least simple inusers found smartphones contributed cable TV is perceived as being more four out of the six regions of the worldto simplicity in their lives. That’s an complex. And with the rise of online we surveyed where it was repeatedlyimpressive performance for reasons television content, many consumers are called out for being too difficult to usealmost as numerous as available apps. reconsidering the cable packages they with too many features. frequently see as overly complicatedOnce gaudy, oversized and less than BlackBerry, said one respondent in the and overpriced.dependable, mobile phones have been United Kingdom, is just “not intuitive”slimmed down, their problems trimmed from a user’s point of view.down making them the ubiquitous, blacKbErry Fail:indispensible standard for millions. While traditional mobile tele- communications still lead as carriers, Of the telecom brands, BlackBerry skype is a veryIn the beginning, mobile phones werejust phones. A simple concept. there’s new, aggressive competition was seen as least simple in four out of the six regions of the world we fun and convenientNow they’re smartphones—game- coming from Internet voice and communications as well as smartphone surveyed, where it was repeatedly service that allows called out for being too difficult tochangers with a seemingly endlessarray of communicative and enter- apps enabling Internet calls. use with too many features. my family to havetaining possibilities. Microsoft’s recent purchase of Skype has only upped the ante. long distance,This despite the variety of operatingsystems, brands and options that In the U.S., the only country where face-to-faceusually contribute to customer confusion Skype was included as an individual brand, Skype was far out in front of communication.and frustration in other industries. the pack—including its next closest it’s a very simpleApple was the world-beater with competitor, Verizon.Nokia a close runner-up. (Apple The cable television industry as a whole programme to useoffers smartphones exclusively; fared poorly when compared to mobile and it’s free. 23
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011 social mediaSocial networks not only dominate the conversation, they’vechanged the very nature of conversation and the global culture.In the U.S. some 22.5 percent of online respondent puts it: “social media LinkedIn hugged the bottom of the listtime is spent on a social network or complicates my life by creating new in every region. The service, originallyblog, according to the Nielsen Company. social norms, requiring me to be created as a sharable database ofAnd, by year’s end, Deloitte predicts constantly connected to all my friends, business contacts, gets low scores formembership in social networks could especially people that in the past I usability with an unwieldy combinationtop 1 billion worldwide. would not have kept in touch with. of user-to-user connectivity issues Additionally there is a constant pressure including specialised groups withThe oldest social media brand on the to keep up your digital image, as it varying membership rules.Global Brand Simplicity list, LinkedIn, can be seen by professionals, peersis just eight years old, a pioneer in and others.”the sector along with the now all-but-forgotten Friendster and Myspace. Unlike the news media, social media is dominated by global brands.The social media concept has always Respondents in almost every regionseemed simple enough: users gather weighed in on the same brands,at one online address to share theirthoughts, photos, videos, links and lives, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter though social media usagebringing friends, colleagues and family and LinkedIn with China, again, by older generations has standing apart. (Facebook, YouTubeup to date as they please in a virtual increased in the past few and Twitter were banned in 2009,world connected (at least theoretically) though the country has its own Twitter years, those over 50 findto the real world. and Facebook clones.) it contributes much lessYet as an industry, social media ranks YouTube (now owned by Google) was to simplicity than thoselow globally on the simplicity scale— found to be simplest globally, with under 30.coming in 17th out of 25 industries Facebook following—earning its placewe surveyed. The complicating factor despite an onslaught of changes toisn’t, as it turns out, the mechanics of the service raising the ire of users whothe medium as much as the demands complain of interference and worryof participation—both on time and about compromises to their privacy.in creating social pressure. As a U.S. 24
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011 internet searchInternet search has become such a fundamental aspect of modernlife that it finished first among all industries by a wide margin inthis year’s Global Brand Simplicity Index.FocUs on In every country we surveyed, with the In every country but China, Google notable exception of India, Internet was seen as the most simple Internet use exceeds the worldwide average search brand, dominating its category of 30.2 percent of the population. It in stunning fashion. And even in China,tHE UsEr should be noted, however, that India’s where Google has faced issues ranging comparatively paltry 8.4 percent, which from government censorship to claims pulled down the worldwide average, of hacking, Google still plays host to translates to more than 100,000,000 19 percent of the country’s searches— users. (In Western countries, by the way, second only to China’s homegrownANDALL about 80 percent of people are online.) Baidu, which respondents there found to be the simplest. It didn’t take much searching to come up with a winner—Google far outpaced The industry’s impressive performance its closest rival Yahoo! and a barely- speaks plainly and powerfully to theELSEWILL there Bing. benefits of simplicity. Online advertising revenues were up 10 percent from Clearly, Google’s guiding principle: Q3 2010 to Q3 2011 (excluding Asia), “Focus on the user and all else will bucking the economic anemia plaguing follow,” has paid off and then some. many, if not most, industries globally. One of our survey respondents wasFOLLOW particularly detailed in their appreciation, saying: “Google’s programmes such googlE rEigns: as Gmail or YouTube are more intuitive Google was seen as the most simple to use than other similar programmes. Internet brand in every country but The design is not cluttered, and the—googlE’s gUiding principlE China, where homegrown Baidu was company seems to be constantly found to be the simplest brand. working to make their products better and easier to use.” 25
Global Brand Simplicity Index: 2011 news mediaThere’s good news for news media in 2011 even in the bad news. Consumers see the media—whether in in the U.S., BILD in Germany and print, broadcast or online—as relatively DNA in India, claimed the top spots simple, placing it 6th out of 25 industries for simplicity with readers citing clean as compared to its 4th out of 20 finish online interfaces. in 2010. In the UK, the BBC—the world’s largest For a market sector that has experienced broadcaster—was also the No. 1 a sea change in the way it conducts media brand when it came to simplicity. business in recent years, that kind of Business news outlets such as the consistency sends an affirming message. Financial Times (UK) and the Wall Street Journal (U.S.) were considered the Online news consumption, not surprisingly, most complex. continues its climb. Nevertheless, the Even though online global view is that broadcast news is the simplest way to consume news, Social media also ranked very low as a news channel. There were some publications are which holds true across lines of gender, exceptions to the rule around the world: on the rise, broadcast age, income, education and community in virtually every part of the globe with in the Middle East, where it ranked 3rd; and in India and China, where it tV is still the simplest the notable exception of China, where news aggregators come in first. ranked 4th. way to get the news. Online publications, by contrast, finish tHE simplEst Way to gEt second in most regions (except, again, tHE nEWs: in China) but show powerful potential Those under 40 find online publications when used in combination with other to be the simplest way to get the news media—particularly as it applies to more than those over 40, for which traditional print newspapers. When broadcast TV is still the clear winner. consumers were asked to rate individual media brands, newspapers with an online presence such as USA TODAY 26