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Consumers Rank Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Lidl Among 'Simplest Brands'

New Siegel+Gale survey uncovers customer sentiment on brand clarity, transparency and effectiveness
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Source: Siegel+Gale
Image source: Siegel+Gale's World's Simplest Brands Survey, 2023

In an increasingly complicated world and business climate, one company sought to identify brands that effectively cut through the clatter to connect with consumers. Global brand experience firm Siegel+Gale released its 10th annual World's Simplest Brands study showing that grocers, in particular, score points with customers for the positive kind of simplicity.

Whole Foods Market landed in the top spot in this year's ranking of the simplest brands in the U.S., leading the United States Postal Service at No. 2, the Lyft ride-share service at No. 3, UPS at No. 4 and Burger King at No. 5. Trader Joe’s made the top 10, coming in seventh on the list, while retail giant Amazon was eighth, dropping from its previous first-place post.

Another grocer, Lidl, snagged the top spot on a global scale. The German retailer had placed in the top 10 international ranking for the past five editions before moving ahead of other brands this time around.

The report emphasized the importance of simple experiences to shoppers facing many headwinds and changes. More than two-thirds (64%) of survey respondents said they are willing to pay more for simpler experiences and 78% are more likely to recommend a brand that delivers simple experiences.

On the flip side, as Siegel+Gale pointed out, brand complexity can cost billons of dollars in unrealized revenue, as shoppers opt for easy-to-understand, transparent and honest experiences. "The world has never been more complex, and for consumers, the number of brand interactions has skyrocketed. While brand experiences happen at every touchpoint across a consumer's journey, they're not all created equal. After measuring the value of simplicity across 10 editions of World's Simplest Brands, one finding is abundantly clear: When you understand and simplify your most important experiences, it pays," explained David Srere, co-CEO and chief strategy officer at Siegel+Gale.

Grocers and brands with DEI and ESG messages need to be clear on those issues, the research shows. Consumer understanding of those topics max out at 37% and 42%, respectively.

Siegel+Gale conducted the survey with more than 15,000 consumers across nine countries, covering 25 industries and more than 800 brands.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle-based Amazon, which is No. 2 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of top food and consumables retailers in North AmericaWith more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on the list. Lidl operates around 11,550 stores and is active in 32 countries. It runs about 170 stores in the United States, with Lidl US coming in at No. 91 on The PG 100.  

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