• Treat Your Clients One Level above CRAP – Branding Rules by Peter Shankman


    At Avvo’s Lawyernomincs 2014 Day One, keynote speaker Peter Shankman brought down the house during his “Nice Finishes First” presentation. He is just a hands-down excellent speaker with a universal sense of humor and lots of real-life experience in branding companies. Shankman insists that every business has the ability to do something for the customers, whether it’s a blog post or a podcast. If not, that company just doesn’t bother to brand itself. If you don’t have a brand, someone will take it from you. All you have is your brand!


    (Me and Peter Shankman)

    Here are four simplified branding rules from Peter Shankman to you:

    1.     Transparency

    You are going to screw up at one point, like the infamous Carlos Danger, a.k.a. Anthony Weiner, a.k.a the former U.S. Representative who accidentally posted his sexting photos on social media but blamed them on a Twitter hack and sabotaged his once-hopeful political career. Weiner was an acclaimed politician and an aspiring candidate. In America, a very forgiving country, imagine what he could have possibly accomplished if he had just apologized. As Shankman put it, in the time of crisis, “Respond and own it to create loyalists who will do the work for you.”

    2.     Relevance

    Do you know how your clients get their daily news or any sort of information? If the answer is no, you should never assume. Instead, you need to ask: What type of content they are interested in and how they would like their content to be delivered to them. Otherwise, they will go somewhere else – it’s that simple.

    Shankman told a perfect story about him being a member of a non-profit animal charity, which used to mail their donors a thick magazine that was of no use. The year they stopped printing and reproducing the magazine, they saved half a million dollars; their revenue went up 37% by establishing a presence on social media to listen to what their members truly wanted instead of making assumptions.

    3.     Brevity

    This concept/rule is very self-explanatory. Shankman could not reiterate enough the significance of writing and GOOD writing. Learn how to write because bad writing will kill you. Good writing is brevity; good writing will save you.

    4.   Trust

    One impressive example Shankman illustrated was how Barry Dillard woke up everyday, chose several people on his rolodex, and called them up just to say hi. That’s how he used to stay close to his contacts and opportunities. Nowadays, it’s so much easier with social media. You no long have to make small talks over phone calls with your clients. Drop a line on your client’s Facebook page; or do what Peter Shankman does – make yourself accessible to your clients, meaning your client could click “reply” and send a direct email to you, not “info@xxxx.com”.  Besides personalizing your services, Shankman said, “Trust comes from incredible customer service..Treat your customer one level above crap.” Sometimes, a $5 gift card could really turn a hater into an evangelist.


    Peter Shankman made a bold predication. He said in 24-36 months, “liking” and “friending” will go away. Facebook is learning, if not already, who your friends are and who to recommend. In the near future, Facebook will follow your daily activities to understand your relationships with friends – if you are together, checking into places all day along, you are friends automatically; when you stop appearing at places together, the prioritizing of the other person’s activities in the newsfeed will gradually fade away until disappearance. The same goes for “liking” a business page. It will become unnecessary because a customer writing about his or her experience in the status update is already validation and recommendation.

    Again, “Treat your customers one level above crap” to create loyalists who will do your PR, branding, marketing, and word of mouth for you. All you need to worry about is what you can do with the public information that is out there about your customers to make them your brand loyalists.


    You can email Peter Shankman at peter@shankman.com. To schedule a chat or a meeting with him, go to meetme.so/petershankman. Learn about upcoming mastermind events at Shankminds.com.

    Do you do anything special to make your clients loyal to your brand? Please leave me a comment below or email me at jacob@enchantinglawyer.com. I would love to hear from you and pick your brain!

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