The World’s Simplest Brands—who they are and why they prosper

by | Dec 5, 2018 | Public Relations

In the fast-paced, multi-channel world of today’s brand imagery, “simple” seems like an unusual commodity for success—but the fact is, simplicity is an experiential component that consumers crave the most.

These new rankings of the World’s Simplest Brands—those that consistently deliver on their brand promise with simple, clear, intuitive experiences—from brand strategy firm Siegel+Gale reveal just what a valuable commodity it is.

According to the 2018 top-ranked companies, Netflix, ALDI and Google were found to be the top three World’s Simplest Brands.

“World’s Simplest Brands quantifies the substantial monetary value of investing in simplifying,” said Howard Belk, co-CEO and chief creative officer at Siegel+Gale, in a news release. “Now in its eighth year, our study reaffirms an increasing demand for transparent, direct, simple experiences that make peoples’ lives easier. Once again the data proves that simplicity pays.”

For this year’s study, Siegel+Gale asked more than 15,000 people across nine countries in the U.S., Europe, Asia, India, and the Middle East to evaluate brands and industries on their simplicity. Key findings include:

  • 55 percent of people are willing to pay more for simpler experiences.
  • 64 percent of people are more likely to recommend a brand that delivers simple experiences.
  • A stock portfolio of the simplest global brands has outperformed the average of the major indexes by 679 percent since 2009.
  • Companies that fail to provide simple experiences leave an estimated share of $98 billion on the table.

Against a backdrop of political, economic and cultural uncertainty, and given rapidly shifting customer expectations, people are demanding simplicity more than ever before. Highlights from this year’s global rankings include:


For the first time, the leading Internet entertainment service has been named World’s Simplest Brand. Its ease of experience, which allows users to stream, pause and resume viewing high-quality content—without commercials or commitments—earns them the top honor for simplicity.

ALDI and Lidl

The German discount grocers are a mainstay of our global Top 10. They surpass big-box competitors by virtue of their clear communications, affordable prices and premium private label products.

Spotify and Trivago

The Swedish music streaming service and the German online booking platform are both newcomers to the Top 10 global ranking.


In a beleaguered fashion industry, this Japanese clothing retailer’s philosophy—simplicity, quality and longevity—resonates around the world.

2018 Top 10 World’s Simplest Brands:

  1. Netflix
  2. ALDI
  3. Google
  4. Lidl
  5. Carrefour
  6. McDonald’s
  7. trivago
  8. Spotify
  9. Uniqlo
  10. Subway

The World's Simplest Brands—who they are and why they prosper

Media struggle

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the current context of ‘fake news’ claims and evidence of disinformation campaigns, the news and social media industries fared poorly in this year’s ranking.

Consistently complex

Again, this year, industries mired in complexity such as insurance, telecommunications and car rental are at the bottom of the ranking.

Top 10 U.S. Brands:

The World's Simplest Brands—who they are and why they prosper

“The top performers in our study operate in crowded, highly competitive marketplaces. That said, their ability to consistently deliver their brands with simple, compelling experiences sets them apart,” said David Srere, co-CEO and Chief Strategy Officer at Siegel+Gale, in the release. “Companies will benefit greatly by keeping it simple for customers…or suffer the consequences.”

Browse the rankings and download the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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