At a time when everything around us seems to becoming more complex, consumers are searching out products and brands that simplify - that make their lives easier and less cluttered.
It is wrong to think of simplification as being light on functionality, service or technology, simplicity in brand is all about consistent, meaningful experiences. Brands, finally, are realising that simplifying brand experience is important. Understanding customers, leading them on a journey of discovery that captures their attention and delivers moments of opportunity for businesses to educate, learn or sell is the path forward.
This simple principal applies in the physical and digital worlds. What is key is that experiences are consistent, relevant and SIMPLE.
The key to simplicity is to rethink, to look for ways to innovate by eliminating steps, paperwork and processes that overly and complicate. By focussing on defining customer journeys, behaviours, understanding data trends and underlying business dynamics, brands have the power to remove clutter. By understanding what customers are actually doing, what services and products they are interacting with, business and therefore experiences become more streamlined and therefore simpler and stronger.
It may seem incredible, even stating the obvious, but finally, in 2014, financial institutions are beginning to realise that simplicity is beneficial to both customers and business. As I mentioned in my article ‘How to build trust so that your brand wins’, with simplicity comes improved trust and loyalty, from simplicity comes savings from redundant and outdated processes.
Brands should not underestimate the effort involved in making products and services simple. I often describe this as being like Karate - to become a master, one has to practice the moves over and over again until simplicity happens instinctively - the moves become effortlessly simple.
10 steps to simplify your brand experience:
Understand your customers by watching, listening, speaking and learning from data.
Audit your technology infrastructure
Take a fresh look at your business processes, technologies and infrastructure through the eyes of your customer (keep in mind you need to be profitable too) and question the ‘how?’
Implement a program to simplify your business infrastructure
Rationalise your product portfolio to answer the needs of now
Set in place an innovation program to build simplicity in your medium-term and long-term offering
Refine or define your brand purpose, values and vision
Be innovative and fearlessly iterate
Ensure your employees and customers are with you on the journey towards simplicity - educate them, help them.
Keep it simple and consistent - ensure you have a crystal clear written definition of what simplicity looks like and use this to measure performance in brand, business and service