Digital Branding & the Beauty of Simplicity
Digital Branding: It’s Not Stupid to Keep It Simple
When you think “digital branding,” do you think “complex?” It doesn’t have to be. In fact, it shouldn’t be. It may seem a contradiction, but simplicity enhances brand identity. Particularly in this age of ever-increasing complexity, simplicity is the very thing that brands need to get right. Without it, your business risks mass customer defection.
Now, if you read the literal description of digital branding it seems crazy complicated. But that’s the nuts, bolts, and mechanics that the pros know how to handle. No, in this article, we’re talking about the simplicity of brand messaging. Designing brand identity with such elegance that your business is the first one to blossom in the mind of your prospective client or customer.
Take Your Digital Branding Cues from the Monarchs of Modern Messaging
Take a virtual tour of online ads. Or take a real stroll around a shopping mall. Feast your eyes on the likes of Google, Amazon, or Apple. The strongest brands of the past decade fully get the power of simplicity in digital branding.
These giants’ brand identity success is directly traceable to the philosophy of simplicity. This is because they know that making life simple for the people who use their products and services is why they make the big bucks. And they understand simplicity rules when it comes to digital branding, too.
So, here’s a simple question about simplicity: If this works for the biggest brands, shouldn’t it work for your digital branding, too?
Brand Identity Should be Easy to Remember
Your customers don’t like complex when it comes to buying. They have lives. They have problems. They have needs. And one of the biggest needs they have is to simplify their lives and get solutions to their problems.
They couldn’t care less about how spectacularly intricate your digital branding is. What they want to know is that you have something that makes their life easier. Get to the point, or get out of their way.
Here’s the rub: How do you keep your digital branding both simple and memorable?
Park Your Ego
Listen, we get it. You’ve got to have such faith in your product that you believe your customers can’t live without it. But, in reality, that’s rarely true. Most digital branding doesn’t even register with a customer. As for the rest, almost all are fleeting events in their overworked, overstressed lives.
Good digital branding will map out the consumers’ experiences when they seek ways to simplify buying, eliminate confusion, and get rid of unnecessary steps in getting what they want. But complications also need to be removed in ways that add value.
The best digital branding does this by delivering a “double easy.”
The greatest brands of our time focus attention on digital branding that meshes with consumers’ overall life. The idea is to deliver a “double easy”: make your product or service easier to buy and clearly show that it will make their lives easier, too.
Take, for example, Amazon’s one-click ordering. When Amazon was just a pup, the prevailing brand identity theory of the day was to keep customers glued to a company’s website for as long as possible to gain optimal interaction and engagement. That, so said the digital branding sages of old, was the way to boost buying.
Amazon’s approach flew in the face of that conventional wisdom.
Instead, they created a system that allowed consumers to store preferences and purchase info through a simple one-click method. Consumer satisfaction went through the roof.
Today, the simplicity of Amazon’s 1-click ordering remains the bedrock of its brand promise. 13-plus years later, their simplicity and customer-centricity philosophy has become the staple of countless other manufacturers, stores, and providers.
Digital branding at its most subtle and simple best.
Step By Step and Beyond
Simplifying digital branding goes beyond the elimination of steps. It clarifies language and uses intuitive graphics. Brand identity that succeeds through simplicity weaves the whole branding concept into a seamless clarity.
Apple gets this. It has for decades. Their devices are beautiful, yet simple to understand and use as soon as buyers pull them from the box. Perhaps no brand has better realized how every aspect of a product matters when it comes to simplicity.
Apple goes beyond. They go deep. Every aspect of their business model is designed for simplification in a way that attracts and keeps customers.
When it comes to digital branding, no company has a better understanding of the power of simplicity than Google. Open a new window and go there now. The search page is blissfully simple. White page, clean logo, blank subject box.
Could Google risk cluttering it up? Cave to the temptation to sell some of that white space and shill for other brands? Certainly, by now they could. But they don’t. Why? They understand the dangers of the slippery slope. They don’t lose sight of the power of simplicity in digital branding.
Which brings us to one of the most important elements of powerful digital branding.
Focus on Need
What do these giants of our digital branding age have in common besides simplicity in presentation? They are all highly, ruthlessly focused on serving a particular consumer need.
The most dynamic brands of our time strive to make life simple. And their digital branding reflects that by cutting through the clutter and giving customers what they want: no-hassle access to the products they want to buy.
By now, you’re no doubt seeing that successful digital branding isn’t just a sleek logo or brilliant ad campaign.
The best brand identity is organically built right into the service or product.
Google has so well established its brand identity, that its very name has become a verb that means “to search.” Though its features have evolved and expanded, its focus has remained essentially unchanged. It organizes global information and had made it accessible and useful to everyone.
Likewise, Amazon has remained true to its original mission to serve 4 main customer categories: consumers, sellers, enterprises, and content creators. is the world’s largest online retailer. Virtually anything can be bought through Amazon because it has remained true to its core brand identity. It connects people and companies.
But this organic digital branding isn’t confined to the likes of Google and Amazon.
It works for companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, too. Dunkin’ Donuts knows what it does best: coffee and donuts. And because it doesn’t stray from its core message, you know it, too. Its very name is the essence of brand identity and has effortlessly transitioned into today’s digital branding.
Simplicity in digital branding is power. According to the seventh annual Global Brand Simplicity Index conducted by Siegel+Gale:
- 63% of consumers believe paying more for a simpler experience is worth it.
- 69% will refer a brand because of that simpler experience.
- And the real kicker: the top ten company brands listed on the index out-performed the average global stock index by 214% between 2009 to 2014.
In the ever-increasing clamor of our modern world, focus and simplicity are the keystones of successful, competitive digital branding.
Clarity Pairs with Simplicity
Clarity must accompany simplicity in brand identity. In 10 words, can you describe your brand and what makes it outstanding? If not, start practicing. Successful digital branding in this age of shortened attention span demands it.
Your customers’ days and nights are packed full. They have neither the time nor the patience to wait for you to conduct what equates to a digital branding treatise. You waste their time and their bandwidth, you waste your opportunity.
You may be deservedly proud of the intricacies and technicalities that makes your company exceptional. But all your customers want to know is how you’re going to make their lives a little easier. Can you deliver a superior service or product with better efficiency than your competitor? There’s your digital branding hook.
When you do clarity right, your company presents itself as bold and deliberate. Consumers will love you for it.
To set up your brand identity for clarity and simplicity, concisely complete the statements below:
- My company is …
- My company does …
- My company serves …
The more clearly you can finish those statements, the better your digital branding campaign will be.
Clarity and Simplicity in Digital Branding Has Slain Giants
The history of brand identity is littered with lumbering giants that fell to smaller, fleeter disruptors. Why? Because these disruptors understood the power of clarity and simplicity in digital branding. Consider the 3 examples below and how they describe their product or service:
- Uber gets you to where you want to go.
- Spotify provides you all the music you want when you want it.
- GoPro helps you capture moments that excite you.
Clarity. Simplicity. Focus.
But don’t mistake simplicity and clarity for easy.
It takes hard work and creativity to discover the sweet spot of digital branding. Once you’ve hit upon it, however, it gives your brand identity the focal point you need to go after the giants of your industry. And your customers understand exactly why they should come to you time and again.
When you simplify consumer experience in a world full of complexity, you earn customer loyalty. That delivers business results and drives shareholder value.
Returning to Siegel+Gale’s Global Brand Simplicity Index, their survey of over 12,000 consumers in 8 countries offered exceptional insight into which brands around the globe are excelling at simplifying customer experience. But more than that, it revealed emerging brands that are threatening the incumbents.
The index confirms the effectiveness of simplicity in digital branding in driving performance.
Take a closer look at some of the top brands in the United States. Each zero in on fulfilling consumer need quickly (in some case virtually instantaneously) while minimizing friction.
- Google, of course, is no surprise. It has been in the top 10 rankings for years now. Netflix is a master at providing instant access to a galaxy of entertainment options.
- Zappos has taken a page from Amazon by perfecting the simplicity of discovery, purchase, and delivery.
- Amazon, meanwhile, remains true to its reputation as a digital branding giant.
- Publix, a grocery retailer, focuses on convenience, superior store design, consistent quality, and customer-service orientation.
- And several of this year’s fast food and fast casual dining brands continue to be disruptors in their fields by keeping their menu selections narrow but satisfying and the customer’s in-store experiences simple, fast, and reliable.
Digital branding that focusing on clarity and simplicity strengthen customer loyalty, reduces price sensitivity, and accelerates word-of-mouth promotion.
But the giants mentioned above need to watch their backs.
The up-and-coming disruptors are learning from these very models of digital branding. Many are poised to blow the giants away at their own game or improving on the rules.
The Dollar Shave Club, for example, is the #1 ranked disruptor in the United States. When you look at its remarkable take on simplicity in digital branding, it’s easy to see why it’s become a serious threat to the old guards of Gillette and Schick.
The lesson? Even when you’re a well-established brand with your own successful take on clarity and simplicity you cannot take a break from digital branding innovation.
Today, Customer Experience Has Absolute Rule
Once, the product or service that a company produced was the sole focus of attention when it came to competition for best brand identity. But in this age of digital branding, it is consumer experience that’s the primary battleground for winning customer loyalty.
With the wisdom of decades of branding now accumulated, this makes perfect sense. When your digital branding promotes a culture of consumer-oriented simplicity, everybody benefits. Employees have the clarity to innovate and deliver superior customer service, consumers have better brand experiences, and ultimately reward brands with their loyalty.
The result is growth. And that’s what every company wants, right? Now comes the rub.
When you do digital branding right, growth is inevitable. But be on the lookout for the complexity that inevitably comes with success. The need for consumer-oriented simplicity and clarity in brand identity is a constant. It is never a destination, always a journey. One day, your company may well be the giant that the disruptors are gunning for.
So commit to simplicity in your digital branding from the start. That commitment needs to be seen from senior management onward.
Finding your niche in simplicity and clarity is not easy. And it must always be done with the customer’s perspective in mind. But when your brand finds its digital branding sweet spot, the power that is harnessed can be ridden to exceptional heights of reputation, customer loyalty, and financial reward.
About Streng Agency
Streng Agency is an integrative branding agency that excels in all aspects of brand marketing, from digital media to website design to marketing events and more. Our full attention is on delivering the best results for your business. We can do this and more because we take our expertise and work with group companies to achieve groundbreaking results.
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