By Lynn Manternach / Guest Column

It’s a complex world out there. We are inundated with thousands of branding messages every day, and it can be overwhelming.

As marketers, we’re trying to figure out how to cut through the chaos to get consumers to pay attention to what we want to say about our brand.

The answer may be simpler than we thought – much simpler, in fact.

The Siegel+Gale Global Brand Simplicity Index, based on a survey of more than 12,000 respondents in eight countries, found that 75 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to recommend a brand if it provided simpler experiences and communications. Word-of-mouth recommendations are more effective than any advertising or marketing a brand can buy, so this is a pretty big deal.

In addition, 38 percent of consumers would pay more for simpler brand experiences. Consumers don’t admit they’d pay more very often, so again, that’s a pretty big deal.

Businesses that can keep it simple will have more successful relationships with consumers. Simple brand ideas result in powerful and memorable branding that people immediately connect with. For consumers, simple brands not only get into their heads faster, but they stay there longer. They save time, money and minimize debate over decisions.

So what can you do to make it easier for consumers to interact with your brand?

Create a clear and concise brand promise. Your brand promise should clearly tell people what they can expect when they interact with your brand. That’s, of course, easier said than done. It takes time and effort to get to the heart of what your brand offers your customers.  As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

The best brand promises focus on what people can expect to feel when they choose your brand. That’s because people are essentially emotional decision makers – whether they are willing to admit it or not. Your brand creates the emotion behind what you’re selling, and your promise should clearly and concisely communicate that.

Research with your customers, along with in-depth discussions across your organization will help you create a simple and on-target brand promise.

Everyone in your organization needs to understand what the promise is, and what their individual role is when it comes to delivering on that promise. If your employees don’t clearly understand the brand promise, your customers will not experience it.

Communicate clearly and consistently. This is one of the most critical aspects of brand simplicity. It’s not easy, especially in complex industries like insurance, banking and health care, but delivering a simple brand experience is especially rewarding for both consumers and the brand if you can get it right.

Communicate without jargon. Don’t make things more complex than they need to be. Consumers want to be able to easily access and absorb the information they need to make good decisions. Companies that know how to provide that information in a clear and straightforward way will be rewarded by consumers. Easily digestible messaging leads to increased recognition and awareness.

Manage your brand touchpoints. When your customers interact with your company and have an experience that aligns with what you promised, you build trust and loyalty. The key is to identify and understand all the ways your brand interacts with the world.

Provide a seamless connection to consumers, regardless of whether a transaction happens online, over the phone, through social media or face-to-face. Consumers are increasingly interacting with brands through multiple channels, and they expect you to track with them seamlessly, regardless of where they choose to connect with you.

Make the buying process as simple as possible to increase the chances of having repeat customers and referrals. Focus on the customer experience and remove complexity from the process as much as possible. Each and every interaction is an opportunity to reinforce your brand promise. Even if your business is complex, the customer experience doesn’t have to be.

As people encounter more brands that have successfully simplified the customer experience, their expectations for your brand will rise. Now that you know simplicity may be the secret to success, what will you do to simplify the experience of interacting with your brand and make the consumer experience a priority?

Lynn Manternach is brand arsonist and president at MindFire Communications Inc. (MindFireComm.com) in Cedar Rapids and LeClaire. Contact Lynn at lmanternach@mindfirecomm.com.

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