Brand simplicity is not what you think
Brand simplicity is vitally important
Akin to the concept of white space and minimalism in design, brand simplicity is the right direction to go to increase your market share. Simple is better. Your company knows it, your brand should show it, and your customer is desperate for anything that makes his life easier. Ironically, there are several definitions of simplicity.
Brand simplicity can be defined as being uncompounded. It can be the absence of pretense, the freedom from difficulty or hardship. It can be the lack of ornamentation or the quality of being natural or based on natural principles. Each one of these definitions holds the key to what today’s consumer desires. A better way.
Clearly, brands that embody simplicity are more likely to hold a place of honor within the mind of the consumer. Simplicity humbles the brand to communicate a larger message to the consumer rather than merely putting itself on a pedestal.
You look for what you know
Brand simplicity reveals itself through a few different sources. A brand’s name, personality, identity, theme line, and appearance are all capable of exuding the peace of mind of simplicity. They are all important measures of brand clarity. At times, a well-organized color palette on a website or the clean outside of a building can make the difference to the consumer.
In a technologically advanced world (read about technology brands here), simplicity is vitally important. And available. Gifts, gadgets, and special offerings are a dime a dozen. More often than not, the customer avoids any extra junk at the point of decision. Consumer decisions are comparable to checking email. You look for what you know and what you trust before even considering the others. Our research has shown that consumers seek simplicity more than any other value. Including price.
There is not one industry that couldn’t use simplicity to its advantage.
An example of brand simplicity
For example, Stealing Share completed brand work for a large utility company that needed more brand clarity and focus. We discovered how crucial of a role simplicity played in this utility market while conducing research.
In this particular case, customers worried the utility would run out of its product. The brand intended to assure customers that an upcoming process would be easy and painless.
Certainly, price issues and market trends were addressed. But the main principle the company was missing in its strategy was simplicity. However, associating a brand with the “simple is better” mentality is the common error of companies misinterpreting simple as stale.
For example, simplicity is also becoming more and more prevalent in the banking industry as it quickly becomes more of a retail domain. Banks often view simplicity as convenience. While convenience is an important aspect of banking, it is expected of any bank anywhere.
However, the strength of the brand itself sways the customer. If the brand represents the simplicity they value, the table stakes of ATMs and branches fade away. The bank has a customer for life. Furthermore, many of the competition’s will switch due to unnecessary complexities in process and identity. (Read a market study about the bank category here.)
How to simplify your brand
What can be done to simplify your brand? A deep, dispassionate analysis of your brand as it currently exists is the first step. What does your brand truly mean to the customer? Is it difficult for them to use or understand?
In short, look in the mirror and identify what stands in the way of efficacy. Any obstacle observed internally will surely be magnified by the outside consumer because they do not possess the same knowledge of your business.
Assume nothing about your customers until you make the honest effort to understand them. Recognize what to do to make the brand more approachable for the consumer.
For example, if you are a consumer product, ensure that your display, brand name, theme line, website, and marketing materials all work to provide a better avenue for your target audience. Like most marketing communication endeavors, this is easier said than done. But have the right perspective, the perspective of the customer, before the physical changes can be made to your product and to your brand. That’s the ultimate in brand simplicity.