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Quick-service brands get high marks for ease

McDonald’s, Subway among top brands on ‘simplicity index’

Quick-service chains dominated a recent study that measured which brands consumers say make their lives easier.

McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway were among the top 10 brands on a new Global Brand Simplicity Index created by branding consultancy Siegel+Gale. The firm surveyed more than 6,000 consumers around the world for the index, which rated brands on such qualities as ease, transparency, innovation and communication. Click here to view the study.

The 10 brands with the highest scores on the Global Brand Simplicity Index:

1. McDonald’s
2. Nokia
4. KFC
5. Burger King
6. Walmart
7. Pizza Hut
8. Starbucks
9. Boots
10. Subway

“Despite everything you might read in food magazines about the ‘slow food’ movement, people globally continue to value the benefit of being able to quickly pick up prepared food,” the authors of the study said.

“Brands like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Subway not only make it easy for people to get food, but also communicate clearly what they offer,” they continued. “They are focused, don’t overwhelm you with choices and give you the sense that they are a good value within their particular niche. Locally customized menus also help.”

Restaurant brands also scored high in a simplicity index focused just on U.S. consumers, with Subway, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and Starbucks all making the top 10.

Simplicity may translate to sales, Siegel+Gale said. Survey findings suggest that between 7 percent and 17 percent of U.S. consumers would pay 5 percent more for simpler products, experiences and interactions within the restaurant and entertainment industries.

To support the notion of simplicity resulting in greater perceived value to consumers, Siegel+Gale noted that the aggregate performance of publicly traded brands within its top 10 rankings, or what it calls the “Simplicity Portfolio,” bettered those of some leading market indexes, including the Dow and S&P 500, FTSE and DAX, during the past two years.

Siegel+Gale, which has U.S. offices in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, created the index by surveying 6,152 consumers in China, Germany, India, the Middle East, United Kingdom and the United States. Questions were intended to gauge consumer perceptions of the complexity of their lives now and in the past, and to “pinpoint the role and value of simplicity in consumers’ lives.”

According to Siegel+Gale, survey responses indicated that the top brands in the index make consumers’ lives simpler by:

• Communicating directly, clearly and without jargon

• Reducing stress by providing savings/value

• Saving time by increased convenience and accessibility

• Facilitating ease of use and interactions

• Enabling consumers to get more from life: deeper relationships, easier lifestyles

Contact Alan J. Liddle at [email protected].

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