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 logoCredit: Aldi.usThe 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 LogoCredit: carrefour.comEurope'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)Credit: yahoo.comEven 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)Credit: nokia.comNokia'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 LogoCredit: pizzahut.comThe 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 LogoCredit: apple.comPerhaps 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 LogoCredit: c-and-a.comHailing 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)Credit: ikea.comDefending 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)Credit: mcdonalds.comIn 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 DayCredit: Google.comThe 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.  :)

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