Why simplicity matters in branding: The Lidl success story and global trends
By Philip Davies, President, EMEA Siegel+Gale
News that consumers put a premium on experiences that are easy to understand, transparent, and meet their needs is hardly earth-shattering. But this desire for simplicity is a powerful branding tool.
At Siegel+Gale, we recently published our index of the World’s Simplest Brands (WSBX), which provides crucial insights into the global trend towards simplicity in branding. Now on its tenth edition, the findings are based on the opinions of over 15,000 individuals across nine countries, highlighting the economic significance of simplicity in consumer interactions.
Our research revealed that 64% of people are willing to pay a premium for simpler brand experiences, and a substantial 78% are more likely to recommend brands that deliver streamlined and uncomplicated experiences and communications.
Winners and losers
Being an index, we have regional top tens of the most Simple brands in the UK, the USA, the UAE, Sweden, Germany, India, Japan and Saudi Arabia. And an overall global top ten, and sat atop the global top ten in the number one spot is the German supermarket Lidl.
Lidl has consistently maintained its position among the world’s simplest brands, securing a top-ten ranking for five consecutive editions. And this year, Lidl topped its previous standings, taking the top spot and ranking number one globally.
Why Lidl? With 12,000 stores worldwide, Kantar cites Lidl as the UK’s fastest-growing supermarket and the Ethical Commerce Society rates it as the UK’s most trustworthy supermarket. High praise indeed. But what is the linking factor behind its success?
A commitment to simplicity across its operations and a series of simple brand-led decisions to ensure the chaos of shopping is seamless, not a chore.
How Lidl became the world’s simplest brand
Lidl’s success in simplicity lies in its straightforward approach. The retailer keeps its product ranges simple, avoiding the phenomenon of ‘range overload.’ This strategy optimises in-store space, reduces costs, and ultimately provides a more efficient shopping experience for consumers. By offering high-quality, reliable goods, including both name brands and its own Lidl products, customers keep coming back for its diverse yet uncomplicated product range.
Competitive pricing is another key to Lidl’s rise to prominence. Customers trust its consistent ‘always Lidl on price’ promise. At the point of checkout, Lidl ensures a seamless process by printing barcodes twice on most products.
In its marketing campaigns, Lidl favours consistency and simplicity. In 2014, recognising the need to broaden its customer base in the UK, Lidl invested £20 million in a consumer-focused brand awareness campaign. This campaign leveraged satisfied customers as brand advocates, successfully shifting perceptions about the brand. In 2017, Lidl introduced its famous tagline, ‘Big on quality, Lidl on price,’ which has significantly increased its market share in the UK.
Consumer preferences have evolved, and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic our World’s Simplest Brands Index has shown that individuals now prioritise brands that deliver on the promise of simplicity. Lidl’s ability to align itself with these evolving consumer preferences has solidified its position as one of the world’s simplest and most appealing brands. By offering transparent, honest, and innovative experiences that meet the needs of its diverse customer base, Lidl continues to showcase the power and appeal of simplicity in the modern business landscape.
The effectiveness of Lidl’s strategy is underscored by statistics revealing that a significant majority of people are willing to pay more for simpler experiences and are more likely to recommend brands that deliver simplicity. Our World’s Simplest Brands Index highlights the growing consumer preference for simplicity in brand experiences. Simpler brands consistently outperform the average global stock index further highlighting the financial benefits of a streamlined approach.
Lidl’s approach aligns perfectly to a growing trend for consumers preferring simplicity and transparency in their interactions with brands, making it a brand to watch in the ever-evolving global market. It’s dedication to simple product offerings, pricing strategies, checkout experiences, and marketing campaigns has propelled its recognition as one of the world’s simplest brands.
Simplicity is a winning strategy. Our index shows that simple is smart.