ALDI, Amazon Top Global Brand Simplicity Index

European-based discount supermarket retailer ALDI and Amazon garnered the top two spots, respectively, in the Siegel+Gale’s fourth annual Global Brand Simplicity Index. The index evaluates the state, significance, and impact of simplicity on brands. This year the research explored the relationship between simplicity and employee innovation.

Below are the Top 10 brands from the 2013 Global Brand Simplicity Index:

1.    ALDI
As the No. 1 global brand, European-based discount supermarket retailer ALDI continues to enjoy extraordinary success. With more than 9,000 stores worldwide and a brand that “focuses on the essentials, no matter what city,” ALDI has made the most of its good-value-for-the-money reputation with both recession-strapped customers and shoppers just looking to spend less.

2.    Amazon
Amazon earns the No. 2 ranking on the Global Brand Simplicity Index, thanks in large part to a customer-first commitment—like its easy-to-use, 1-click ordering. And with every part of Amazon driven by data that tracks customer experience successes and failures, it's no surprise the online retail giant keeps landing near the top of the Simplicity Index.

3.   Google
Google slips from No. 1 last year to No. 3 this year. Despite losing its grip on the top spot, however, Google is still “a synonym for simplicity,” with a friendly and intuitive user interface. And Google continues to make mobile life easier with its new app, Google Now, which gives users information that fits their needs—like mobile airline boarding passes.

4.  McDonald’s
Not surprisingly, the iconic American fast-food restaurant gets high marks for speed and convenience. But McDonald’s also wins points from consumers for its accessible menu, transparent pricing and clear, concise communications. As concerns about obesity and other health issues rise, McDonald’s is moving forward with redesigned product packaging to include QR codes linked to nutritional information.

5.  KFC
Despite a minor setback in China following a food safety scare in late 2012, KFC managed to make the Top 10 simplest global brands. Its straightforward lineup of food and pricing, paired with roadside ubiquity and a successful online coupon program, made KFC a favorite for many with an appetite for simplicity.

6.  Carrefour
French retailer, Carrefour, is securely in the Top 10 again this year. The hypermarket, says respondents, carries  “everything you need under one roof.” Under new CEO George Plassat, store managers can now tailor inventory in individual stores to match local tastes. That's been a huge factor for Carrefour and its rise in relevancy to customers.

7. C&A
International Dutch fashion retailer C&A remains in the Top 10. With branches in 20 European countries, the brand is busy weaving RFID technology into its shopping experience so customers will always find the products they're looking for on the shelves. Consumers describe C&A as a cost-effective brand you can rely on to make “shopping uncomplicated.”

8. Samsung
Its flagship product, the Android-operated Galaxy, has been stealing iPhone market share with its elegant design and easy-to-use functionality. And in an effort to shed its image as a hardware manufacturer, Samsung has been heavily investing in promoting its bold technology and innovation. Some respondents championed Samsung’s newfound creativity, while others praised its positioning as a modern yet accessible brand.

9.  IKEA
If IKEA has a mission, it’s enhancing the everyday life of its customers. Mission accomplished. Offering easy-to-assemble products at low prices and easy-to-navigate stores, the Swedish company continues building a brand that makes home furnishing simple. Now IKEA is partnering with Marriott International, lending its expertise to help create a chain of hip, budget hotels.

10. Pizza Hut
As the world’s largest pizza franchise, Pizza Hut continues to pride itself on accessibility and convenience. And with its memorable ad campaigns and made-to-order menus, Pizza Hut easily rises above the competition. Now the brand’s recently updated website provides customers with a “completely fresh online experience”—including the ability to place orders through Xbox.

Apple fell out of the global Top 10, dropping 14 spots to No. 19. As the Galaxy and the iPhone battle for smartphone supremacy, Samsung has overtaken Apple, earning the No. 8 spot on this year's Global Brand Simplicity Index. 

Mega-retailer Walmart, once again the world’s largest company based on revenue, rose 24 spots to No. 14 of 92 brands on the Global Brand Simplicity Index. Many respondents hailed Walmart’s clear, simple message: “Low Prices. Every Day. On Everything.”

Search engine Bing is starting to give Google a run for its money, rising 42 spots this year to No. 26. Globally, respondents said they liked Bing’s more visual approach to its website as well as its intuitive qualities and ease of navigation.

German home appliance manufacturer Bosch moved up 33 spots from No. 65 last year to No. 32. Consumers enthusiastically applauded the brand’s simple, straightforward instructions and product manuals, according to the index. They were also impressed with the high quality of Bosch products, which users say rarely need new parts or servicing.

Best Western, the world’s largest hotel chain, rose 32 spots to No. 37 this year. Respondents believe the brand is up-front with rates and like the convenience of its widespread locations. With a top-rated website and the option to book hotel rooms through the brand’s Facebook page, it’s clear that Best Western wants to make trip planning as easy as possible for customers.

The Siegel+Gale Global Brand Simplicity Index is a report of global brand ratings, based on an online survey of more than 10,000 consumers in seven countries who are asked to evaluate perceived points of simplicity or complexity in consumer interactions with over 500 brands across 25 industries. Each brand is rated on elements of the simplicity methodology. Siegel+Gale defines simplicity as ease of understanding, transparency, caring, innovation, and usefulness of communications as well as how complex and complicated typical interactions are in relation to industry peers.

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