Most good things in life take work. The same is true of your business. Establishing that perfect balance of authenticity, trust and transparency that all adds up to brand loyalty takes time and effort.

There are no shortcuts.

But you can work smart and strategically to make it happen. A new infographic from the DMA provides fresh insights into how brand loyalty is developed and sustained by successful businesses in today’s social environment. There is a lot to learn in this infographic. However, if you were to focus on just one key takeaway, I would encourage you to consider with me the misalignment between (1) what a consumer’s favorite brand does and (2) what consumers would like it to do.

Brand Behaviors v. The Consumer’s Desired Behaviors
This particular data set reveals just how out of touch many brands are with their consumers’ desires and needs. Bridging this gap – which can sometimes happen by simply asking your customer what’s on their mind – is an essential first step toward establishing brand loyalty.

Let’s take a look at the data…

“Ask consumers to write reviews.”

  • 42% of brands do this.
  • Only 16% of customers would like them to do this.

“Ask for feedback on service.”

  • 39% of brands do this.
  • Only 19% of customers would like them to do this.

“Offer incentives for recommendations to friends and family.”

  • Only 17% of brands do this.
  • Yet 32% of customers would like them to do this.

“Send surprise free gifts.”

  • Only 11% of brands do this.
  • Yet 47% of customers would like them to do this.

“Follow back on social networks.”

  • Only 11% of brands do this.
  • Yet 24% of customers would like them to do this.

Looking at this data set, I notice that there are quite a few disparities between consumers’ desires and brands’ behaviors. A few of these issues could be relatively easy fixes for your brand; other issues may be harder. For example, it probably wouldn’t take that much effort for you to follow back the accounts that follow you on Instagram and Twitter. Only 1 out of 10 brands do this… yet 1 out of 4 consumers wish that they would. What an easy gap to close, right? And in doing so, you create a connection with your consumer that could be quite memorable for them.

“Send surprise free gifts,” might be a little more difficult to implement, but what if there was something you could offer your customers? Again, only 1 out of 10 brands do this. Yet nearly half of all consumers wish they would. Take a look at this list again, and then I challenge you to leave a comment below sharing an idea of how you could engage your customers in a creative way this month.