Welcome to this new edition of Simple, Smart & Sexy.
As you know, we have been running a survey on how Simple, Smart & Sexy are some brands. Being the creators of the SS&S concept, we recognize that today’s market is super complex for brands because categories are crowded and new categories are being created every day trying to find a new niche for growth. On top of it, marketing communications has exploded and marketers can basically communicate with consumers at any time, through an immense array of channels.
With so many possibilities, creating brands that are meaningful, different and worth it to a consumer is becoming very hard. The result of this survey demonstrate the difficulty brands are facing in bringing meaning (smartness), differentiation (simplicity) and experience (sexiness) in order to lead their industry or category.
When we started this survey, our viewers and followers could add their preferred brands. Besides adding some, they also suggested that we should start a list of Complicated, Stupid and Unsexy brands, which we did.
Today’s video shows, which brands have been voted as the Simplest, Smartest & Sexiest by our viewers!
We will keep running this survey during the entire year but in a simpler format. Now you will have the opportunity to just vote on 3 brands per category, ranking them according to your preference. And today, we have added some additional suggested brands for you to consider. Those are: Woolmark, Nike, WWF, Bayer, Showtime, Target, Harley-Davidson, Movado, Southwest Airlines and BMW. Click here to vote!
When we pulled out the results of this survey, we had 240 responders. However, people were not obliged to rank all brands. If a brand got less than 40% of votes, we took it out.
What are results telling us?
First, we need to understand that people choose brands that they believe are different from others in a meaningful way.
Bose, for example, offers some interesting facts. First, it was the brand that got the most responses, 100%! We could say that is a widely recognized brand, however only 55.6% of voters thought it is simple for the user. In fact, Simplicity is the dimension in which brands scored the lowest; Apple, which was selected as the Simplest brand, got 78.3% of votes in this category, Swatch got 73.7% and Smart, falling into third place got 61%. So brands still need to work a lot to make their client experience simpler by working on improving products, marketing, distribution and service.
Usability and fundability are two key brand drivers, which derive in clients perceiving how Smart a brand is. With consumers needing to multitask to get to everything they need to do in a single day, the more features which make the product more usable, the better it is for the brand. This is precisely the definition of smart products. And, although availability seems to be an obvious requisite for a brand, the role of the distribution channel in the introduction of a new brand plays a key role in the product success.
In the Smart category, we had no surprises and this is mainly because companies are still so, so focused on creating outstanding products. Apple got the highest score, with 82.6% of votes, Smart 64.7% and Swatch 58.8%. To me, Starbucks was a surprise, which got 27.8% of votes, but this was a brand which scored very low in all three categories. Samsung, on the other hand was also a surprise because it scored low in Simplicity (31.6%), Smartness (44.4%) and Sexiness (17.6%).
Lastly, brands are most admired when differentiation goes beyond tangible advantages. The most powerful engagement with consumers happens when strong emotional bonds connect consumers with brands. Emotional connections happen when clients perceive a brand is emotionally rewarding – beyond useful. This survey was able to prove it.
In the Sexy category, Bang & Olufsen scored highest with 88.9% of votes. The most incredible -or not based on my previous paragraph- part is that it scored very, very low in the Simple (22.2%) and Smart (33.3%) categories.The same thing happened with other very interesting and super emotional brands like Porsche, which was voted as the second sexiest brand (81% of votes) but scored 36.8% on Simplicity and 57.9% on Smart.
Apple got the third position in the Sexy category with 78.3% of votes. What we can say about Apple is that it is -overall- the most valued brand in terms of Simplicity, Smartness and Sexiness.
I don’t have to explain the value behind a branding strategy. We work with large companies and they all seek the same: lead their industries to grow their profits and mark the pace. Leadership depends not on what a company says, but on who follows that company. To lead an industry today, brands need to work on these three dimensions: Simple, Smart, Sexy. To review what these attributes mean in each customer interaction, read my previous post “Transcend the ordinary“, I think you can find it very useful.