Corporate Eye

2012 Global Brand Simplicity Index Ranks Most Simple and Complex Brands

global brand simplicity indexSiegel & Gale’s 2012 Global Brand Simplicity Index ranks the simplest and most complex brands in the world and reports not just the rankings but also points of complexity and simplicity that affect people’s lives and their perceptions of brands. For example, did you know that consumers are willing to pay billions more for simpler brand experiences? That’s just one finding from the report.

In all, the index surveyed 6,067 consumers in seven countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America to identify their perceptions of 125 brands in 25 industries.

Key findings from the survey and corresponding report include:

  • Across all industries, consumers are willing to pay more than $30 billion for simpler products and brand experiences.
  • 80% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications.
  • Globally, consumers rank the internet search, electronics, and restaurants industries as the simplest while general insurance, health insurance, and utilities are ranked as the most complex.
  • Google ranked as the simplest global brand, but Google+ was among the least simple global brands. Facebook also ranked as a complex brand (ranking 118 out of 125 brands).

The brands that consumers ranked as simplest globally are:

  • Google: Brand Simplicity Score = 891 (Simplest Brand Globally)
  • McDonald’s: Brand Simplicity Score = 812
  • IKEA: Brand Simplicity Score = 789
  • C&A: Brand Simplicity Score = 782
  • Apple: Brand Simplicity Score = 779
  • Pizza Hut: Brand Simplicity Score = 778
  • Nokia: Brand Simplicity Score = 772
  • Yahoo!: Brand Simplicity Score = 768
  • Carrefour: Brand Simplicity Score = 767
  • Aldi: Brand Simplicity Score = 761

The brands that ranked at the bottom of the list making them the most complex globally are:

  • O2: Brand Simplicity Score = 487
  • Groupon: Brand Simplicity Score = 481
  • Google+: Brand Simplicity Score = 465
  • Bupa: Brand Simplicity Score = 461
  • EasyJet: Brand Simplicity Score = 461
  • Europcar: Brand Simplicity Score = 446
  • AXA: Brand Simplicity Score = 414
  • E.ON: Brand Simplicity Score = 377
  • Allianz: Brand Simplicity Score = 283
  • Ryanair: Brand Simplicity Score = 260 (Most Complex Brand Globally)

The full index report is available here and includes more data as well as rankings for specific countries and regions such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Germany, India, and the Middle East.

Image: Siegel & Gale

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.