Which Brands Are Offering Consumers the Simplest Experiences?

November 12, 2015

SiegelGale-Top-10-US-Brands-by-Simplicity-Index-Nov2015Almost two-thirds (63%) of consumers surveyed across 8 global markets say they would pay more for a simpler experience from a brand, and close to 7 in 10 would be more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications, according to Siegel+Gale’s latest annual “Global Brand Simplicity Index” report.

The report ranks the top brands by simplicity index, which is based on:

  • The simplicity and complexity of the brands’ products, services, communications and interactions in relation to its industry peers;
  • How consistently the brands’ experiences and communications are rated;
  • How aligned non-user and user perceptions are (privileging aligned perceptions); and
  • The Simplicity Score for the brands’ industries or categories.

United States

As with last year, internet search ranked as the leading industry in the US by Simplicity Score (see below for details about how this is calculated). Search was followed by restaurants, retail/grocery, internet retail, and electronics, with these showing no change in the rankings from last year.

By contrast, social media, telecom/cable, health insurance and general insurance are the industries with the lowest Simplicity Scores among US respondents.

When it comes to the top brands, there’s a new leader this year, with Google jumping 13 spots to claim the top ranking. It was followed by Netflix (+3 spots) and Publix (+20 spots), with Amazon (-2 spots) and Chipotle (+4 spots) rounding out the top 5. Last year’s top brand by Simplicity Index, Zappos.com, fell 5 spots to #6.

Among those brands ranked last year and this year, Maytag (+50 to #15), Groupon (+46 to #12) and HP (+46 to #32) were the fastest risers this year. The biggest free fall in the rankings belongs to Days Inn, which tumbled 56 spots to #88.

Meanwhile, Comcast had the dubious distinction of being the lowest-ranked brand of the 124 tracked. It has previously appeared on the list of brands with the worst web experience ratings and worst customer experience, and has also been on the list of least trusted companies.


Globally, the same industries led as in the US: internet search; electronics; retail/grocery; internet retail; and appliances. Only two industries were in the bottom rung of Simplicity Scores (less than 400 on the 1,000-point scale): health insurance, and general insurance.

The brand rankings differed from the US, though the top 3 remained consistent from last year, with Aldi in first, Google in second and Lidl in third. Netflix and McDonald’s swapped spots this year, though both remained in the top 5.

Of the 87 brands tracked globally, the bottom two were Bupa (health insurance) and AXA (general insurance), indicating the trouble customers are having with simplified insurance experiences.

Social Media

New to the report this year is an examination of social media, which was one of the lowest-rated industries in the US, though it fared a little better globally.

The study finds that maintaining existing relationships is the activity that most consumers find simple on social media (82% of those younger than 45 and 83% of those older than 45). While respondents older than 45 are more likely than their younger counterparts to find it simple to establish professional relationships on social media (62% and 56%, respectively), younger users are more likely to find it simple to get updates from brands and businesses, get access to influencers/celebrities, and make romantic connections.

While Facebook is the most commonly used platform for product discovery, Pinterest and Yelp are the platforms that make discovery simplest for users, per the report. Similarly, while Facebook is most commonly used to stay up to date on the news, Twitter takes top billing for simplicity in this area.

Finally, in looking at ad experiences on social media, respondents noted that ads disrupt the experience by far the most on YouTube, while they’re least disruptive on LinkedIn. Snapchat users are the least likely to notice ads and the least likely to find some ads interesting. While Facebook users are second only to YouTube users in finding the ads disruptive, they’re also the most likely to find some of the ads interesting.

About the Data: The study is based on a survey of 12,358 consumers across 8 countries: US (1,750); UK (1,743); Germany (1,750); Sweden (1,757); Mainland China (1,775); India (1,755); and UAE and Saudi Arabia (1,718). During the study, respondents rated a total of 585 brands. The brands were selected as a representative set that respondents would be most likely to know and/or use in each country.

An industry’s simplicity score was calculated using the following inputs:

  • The industry’s contribution to making life simpler or more complex;
  • The pain of typical interactions with companies/organizations within the industry;
  • How the industry’s typical communications rank in terms of: ease of understanding; transparency/honesty; communicating that customer needs are being cared for/making the customer feel valued and appreciated; innovation/freshness; and usefulness.

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