Blonds Have More Fun!

In the book, The Blond Knight of Germany, American authors Toliver and Constable detail the life of the greatest fighter pilot to ever fly, Germany's Erich Hartmann. During WWII, Hartmann recorded 352 confirmed in-flight victories. To put it into perspective, very few American fighter pilots reached 100 in-flight victories. Simply put, Erich Hartmann reached levels of greatness most fighter pilots can only dream about.

Would you like your business to achieve such levels of greatness? A common way to learn from the success of others is to look at what they did and adapt it to your situation. Here are two ways Hartmann reached success, use them to turn your company's brand into a Blond Knight.

1) Know Your Enemy: "If you are unable to beat your enemy at his own game, it is nearly always better to adopt some striking variant." - Winston Churchill (intro to Chapter 4 of The Blond Knight of Germany.)

Hartmann's Use: He created a Pilot's Handbook of Enemy Strength that outlined all of the planes his enemies flew. It detailed the strengths and weaknesses and the best approaches in defeating them. He was rarely surprised by what the enemy was capable of doing.

Your Use: Don't depend on your personality and hard work to propel your brand beyond the competition. Learn all you can about your products, your field, your competition, future competition, etc. Find out what you are up against and plan your strategy accordingly. Having a good idea, being honest, and providing "great customer service" are not guarantees to the success of your brand. Knowing your enemy's strengths/weaknesses and how you honestly match up against them (and acting on this knowledge) is the greatest insurance for your brand's success.

2) Be First: "If you can't be first, create a category in which you can be." - Al Ries & Jack Trout

Hartmann's Use: Erich Hartmann said it best, "The pilot who sees the other first already has half the victory." Playing catch up is not a fun position when you are thousands of feet in the air.

Your Use: Catch up also is not fun when thousands of your dollars are at stake. Avoid playing catch up by creating a new category. Even the slightest difference in focus can establish you as a category leader - instead of another brand in an overcrowded category. Dell computers built their brand on selling direct to the consumer. Started in 1984 by a college student (soon-to-be a college drop-out,) Dell computers currently ranks as the leader in most computer manufacturer categories across the globe. Competitors such as IBM and HP have now tried to offer consumer-direct service. However, Dell was first in the category and it appears they will stay that way.

Erich Hartmann used a one-two punch combination of Know Your Enemy and Be First to become the best fighter pilot in history - The Blond Knight. You can use the approach to help build your brand. Performed with confidence, this combination is sure to grow your business. Meaning: more customers, more profits, more enjoyment - that proves it, blonds (blond brands that is) do have more fun!

Kevin Kearns is a small business branding coach. He holds a Master of Science degree in Organization Development and is a member of the Coachville Graduate School of Coaching. With a mixture of hands-on experience, research, and fun, Kevin helps you become the only choice for your customers. Visit http://www.kevinkearns.com/ne wsletter.html to join The Branding Bunch - a community made of small business owners that want to grow their business the easy way.

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