At Toast, our unofficial motto is that doing business with us should be simple. We want to establish a simple, efficient and relevant relationship.

In most cases, we try to infuse this simplicity in our clients’ brand. That’s even more important in multi-platform contexts, where every iteration of the brand or every new execution can bring further interference to the message. We consider ourselves the stewards of our clients’ brand, and we ensure that it remains consistent, and the simplicity of the message is maintained.

Obviously, we’re not the first ones to see things that way, far from it. Siegel+Gale recently published the results of their research on the Global Brand Simplicity Index. This index measures a brand’s level of simplicity, both in what it brings to the customer through its products, and in the way it interacts with the brand at purchase, with customer service, etc.

Why a simplicity-based Index? 75% of people interviewed stated that simplicity is an important factor in making life enjoyable, that it brings peace of mind and reduces stress.

In this context, what are the simplest world-renowned brands? From 1 to 10: :

(Notice the proeminence of fast food chains? Well, we are dealing with simplified consumption and interaction, not responsible buying). I was surprised to see that in the US, Apple comes only in 64th place in terms of brand simplicity. It is so tremendously popular now, and we read everywhere about how simple their products are. Weird… Well, moving on.

What do big brands do to simplify branding and the perception of their products?

  • They communicate directly, clearly, and without jargon.
  • They enable us to save time by giving us better and simpler access.
  • They help reduce stress by putting forward value or savings (time-, money- or otherwise)
  • Interactions with them are simple and clear.
  • They give consumers access to a better life: deeper relationships, a more easygoing lifestyle.

This is no longer about minimalist design, but about a deeper reflection on brand perception in a context of simplicity. People see their lives as complicated… more and more. If your brand wants to be positioned as the simple alternative (not to be confused with simplistic, by any means), you will have an edge on many levels. Here is the complete—and totally interesting— presentation:

(photo via kevindean)