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What Are the Ten Simplest Brands to Buy From?

By Edited Feb 4, 2016 3 9

Do you shop at one of these top ten world's simplest brands?

Being a simple brand is more valuable than you think.

Good designers and brand strategists like to overuse the term "simplicity."  And with good reason.  Artists use what's called 'whitespace' to subtly communicate that which is unsaid. And just like a good artist, the world's simplest brands don't do everything for their customers.  Google doesn't tell you what to search for, they just help you find it better.  Ikea doesn't assemble your furniture for you, they just design it well enough to serve you well.  And Apple doesn't tell you how to create something beautiful with their computers, they just build it so you can.

According to a recent study by Siegel&Gale, the simplicity of a brand can greatly influence its customers.  The group polled more than 6,ooo consumers on the brands they find most simple (including ease of shopping, flow of website design, logo and branding remarks, and collateral materials.)  The report then lays out the dollar value of simplicity across various industries.  I think you're gonna enjoy this.

#10: ALDI  

ALDI logo
The European-based ALDI supermarket grabs the #10 spot with its no frills advertising focused on cost savings, good quality, a good variety of products.  ALDI's goal is for you to get "the same for less."[2]  

My wife just started shopping here, and aside from produce items, the selection and quality is decent and we save about 50% on our grocery bill every month.

#9:  Carrefour  

Carrefour Group Logo
Europe's largest retailer debuts on this list of top ten world's simplest brands at number nine.  Quite impressive.  Carrefour's ranking is due to its "ease of navigating the product portfolio and good customer experience."  Carrefour makes its value proposition statement clearly- choice and quality for everyone- and carries out this promise in its hypermarket and supermarket store formats, similar to Wal-Mart and its Wal-Mart Supercenters, formerly Hypermart stores.

#8:  Yahoo!  

Yahoo Logo(117600)
Even though Yahoo! officially removed the '!' from its trademarked name in 2012, its improved ease of use and search functionality have improved the brand's image among consumers.  CEO Marissa Mayer (formerly of Google) has opened doors for the company's success through strategic partnerships with Facebook, CNBC, and Spotify, and is on a quest to greatly improve the usefulness of its services[4].  

It will be awhile before I use Yahoo again; I've got a good system in place for browsing the web without the use of the former giant.

#7:  Nokia

Nokia Logo(117603)
Nokia's sales may suffer here in the States due to strong competition from Apple and Android smartphones, but in India and China it ranks #1 and #28, respectively.  Customers love its "self-explanatory, straightforward products" and easy-to-use operating systems.  With a strengthened partnership with Microsoft, the company is on a straight path to success.  

#6:  Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut Logo
The original pizza restaurant, opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1958, now boasts nearly 13,000 locations worldwide, and is recognized as the world's largest pizza franchise.  Strengths include "clear advertising, online ordering, excellent service and quick delivery."

I was surprised by this ranking, perhaps because my family is on a quest to become debt free, and I honestly can't remember the last time I ate at a Pizza Hut.  Not that their food is bad, but because the brand hasn't convinced me to eat their food lately.

#5:  Apple

Apple Logo
Perhaps the most valuable brand in the world (with a market cap of $526 BILLION dollars as of October 26, 2012), Apple rounds out the top five simplest brands in the world.  By creating products that "strive for design perfection" and create intuitively simple user experiences, Apple fans share a cult-like intense love for the brand and its products, and mourned in droves the day Steve Jobs' life was celebrated.  That's a lot more than we can say for Microsoft.

I must confess to being a MacSnob.  A new project I recently signed on for provided me with a MacBook Air and an iPhone, and I couldn't love it more.  Try one for yourself if you don't believe me. I'm pretty sure you'll love it.

Fast and elegant. The Porsche of computers.

#4: C&A

C&A Logo
Hailing from 17th century Holland, the family brand C&A has leveraged its foothold as a strong European brand into its position at number four on the world's simplest brands list.  Now a truly global fashion brand, C&A has jumped fifteen spots by staying true to its simple purpose to "make fashion accessible."

#3:  IKEA

IKEA logo(117607)
Defending its #3 spot is the world's foremost furniture retailer.  Its formula of simple and modern design complements its huge offering of practical furniture at affordable prices.  Shopping is available in well laid out stores and on-line at ikea.com, and the company provides top-notch customer service before, during, and after the sale, making it a truly unique brand in the world of commerce (especially furniture.)

My family was given a gift of an IKEA desk several years ago and although we've outgrown it, its quality and design make IKEA a furniture destination for us in the near future.

#2:  McDonald's

McDonalds Logo(117609)
In its quest to "be the world's favorite place and way to eat," McDonald's has grown from a single hamburger stand in 1955 to the world's #2 simplest brand of fast-food.  The company offers easy-to-order food from a well-known and easy to understand menu, and reigns supreme in its category because "the quality is consistent," among other well-stated results of the survey.  

While I don't like what goes on inside McDonald's restaurants (have you seen Supersize Me?), the recent remodels of the exterior of its restaurants is a refreshing look for the brand, and I enjoy its architectural design.

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#1: (drumroll, please) Google

Google Doodle Representing India's Independence Day
The world's largest and favorite search engine, Google has moved beyond being just a brand name to becoming its own verb: 'Just google it' is now synonymous with finding information online.  With a clean and simple home page and great Google Doodles celebrating milestones of famous people and events around the world, the search giant's dominance has often been attributed to its uncluttered interface[3].  The site's speedy and effective search results just "makes your day simpler," as one respondent put it, adding a layer of loyalty between its frequent users and those voicing concerns over Google's privacy policies and use of consumer data.

One of my favorite books is "What Would Google Do?" by author Jeff Jarvis.  As a longtime Googler, I've tried other search engines including DuckDuckGo, Ask Jeeves (remember that one?), Lycos, and more.  To see Google take the top ranking makes me smile.

For the complete results, just Google "Siegel+Gale Glabal Brand Simplicity Index" and you can check up on your favorite brands.

Was your favorite brand on the list of top ten simplest brands in the world?  Mine was.  :)

iTunes dominates for a reason

Give the gift of music

There isn't anybody on my gift lists that won't appreciate an iTunes gift card. I give these for birthdays, Christmas, and just about every other occasion for gift-giving.


Nov 24, 2012 12:08am
You have put the spot on the most popular brands. Thumbs up!
Nov 24, 2012 8:14am
ALDI's has grown -- very quietly, I might add -- in the US over the past decade or so. I first saw one of their stores in Missouri in about 1999, having never heard of the brand. Since then, new ones spring up in different places where I'd never seen them before, they are all almost identical in design layout, and they offer decent pricing on a select group of comestibles. I like their stores and do shop in them where available. Interesting piece, and a thumb's up.
Nov 24, 2012 9:43am
What about amazon? They have a great selection of products. The way things are organized can get a little sketchy, but overall its pretty intuitive.
Nov 27, 2012 12:41pm
Carrefour is HUGE!! Went to one in Dubai's Mall of Emirates, it is easily as big as any Super Wal-Mart, if not bigger, and they sell EVERYTHING. I discovered that most of their products are on the cheaper side of the quality spectrum, but that's to be expected for their large size and, more importantly, their target audience, which is family folks and your everyday shoppers. They are doing very well, from what I saw. That particular store must get well over 10,000 shoppers a day.
Nov 28, 2012 8:02am
Ernie, thanks for the thumbs up!
Nov 28, 2012 8:06am
vicdillinger, I saw my first ALDI in Missouri, too, around the same time. Were you by chance in Springfield? lol My wife just started shopping there recently and the food selection is great. Thanks for the thumbs up!
Nov 28, 2012 8:06am
music4life, you're right. Amazon is great, maybe I'll put them on next year's list. ;)
Nov 28, 2012 8:07am
david021, sounds like you do a bit of traveling. Hopefully Carrefour is cleaner and more enjoyable than Wal-Mart. When I get overseas, I'll definitely check it out!
Jun 15, 2013 9:48am
So a little late to the party, but wanted to thank you for the link to my article! I'm glad it was useful. :)
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  1. "Google, Ikea, Apple: The World's 10 Simplest Brands." fastcodesign. 29/10/2012 <Web >
  2. "Aldi." Aldi Corporate Website. 8/04/2013 <Web >
  3. What Would Google Do?. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2009.
  4. "Marissa Mayer." Gawker. 8/04/2013 <Web >

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