When we think of what Jesse Cole and the Bananas are doing, they are absolutely changing the game they are playing. While much of what you see resembles a baseball game, how they bring it to life is completely different. When you ask them why they do what they do, they will tell you that they are here to be #FansFirst and entertain always. They want to make baseball fun.
There were so many lessons we learned from our time together, some of which you can read down below. But above all else, we saw something #different. We saw something that makes you stop and pause and take note. We saw a group of people that are fully bought into a #vision and they are working their tails off to bring it to reality.
Key Takeaways from the Savannah Bananas and
Find Your Yellow Tux
Ruthless elimination of friction
Eliminating friction is about putting yourself in your fans’ shoes and looking at every possible pain point, every possible frustration, every possible policy that slows things down, heats up tempers and punishes fans,” says Cole. Pay particular attention to microfrictions. Cole and the front office crew take turns being an undercover fan at every game and then report back on what could be improved from the moment fans arrive to when they head home. We saw this first hand with their easy concession service and no-assigned seating.
Ideas are gold
There is no bad idea. In fact, the most absurd, off-the-wall ideas often lead to some of the most ground-breaking ones. When it comes to generating ideas, think about what aspect of your business you're promoting - and what you're ignoring. If it's the same as everyone else, then you're not sharing what makes you stand out. The Savannah Bananas do not shy away from getting creative with ideas on improving their Fans First experience. They embrace ideas from all channels and use that to feed into their experimentation cycles.
Mindset of experimentation and paradigm-shifting
“Everything is about the experience. A lot of companies don’t try new things. They do the same thing over and over again. That creates boredom.” The Savannah Bananas are craftsmen at incorporating experiments of all sizes into each of their games. Each experiment informs them on how to further drive their mission of "Fans First. Entertain Always." It fuels their continuous innovation mindset on how to break molds and create memorable experiences on behalf of their mission.
Unexpressed gratitude comes off as ingratitude. Taking the time to write someone an expression of gratitude not only does the receiver good but also has an immense impact on the giver. The Savannah Bananas have several public expressions of gratitude, including their famous Fan Wall signing, highlighting cancer survivors and veterans, as well as displays of hospitality to first timers at Greyson Stadium
Promotion to serve
"Being the Yellow Tux Guy brings me a lot of attention. But at the end of the day, it’s not about me. It’s about having fun and doing something different. It’s about inspiring others to live better lives than the ones they’ve been told to live. Above all, it’s about the fans, the community, and creating the best experience possible."
The Savannah Bananas find ways to use their platform to promote others, whether that's through incorporating small businesses into their giveaways ("Dooooooonut!), promoting the fans through their socials or game promotions, or other means. They are loud and proud of who they are, and they promote themselves in order to bring awareness so that others may engage and be lifted onstage, too.
"When you have vision, you have direction... Be stubborn on your vision but flexible on the details." Who are you and what do you stand for? Answering this provides a sense of purpose and direction. Your vision and guiding principles become the compass from which you make decisions. Vision motivates nd inspires us to a calling beyond ourselves. In a lot of ways, the Savannah Bananas have accomplish their first vision - make baseball fun. Here is a sneak peak into where they're headed next.
Rounding out the Weekend
After witnessing all of the intentional experiences and excitement the Savannah Bananas had to offer, our trip was rounded out with a Saturday in Savannah and Tybee Island followed by a dinner we call Rock the Vizion. This dinner allowed us to celebrate the past quarter of accomplishments and reflect on memorable stories emphasizing our core values. We look forward to our next gathering at the end of September for our Q3 Rock the Vizion!
Thank you to Dalton Touchberry Photography for capturing great images of our AV Family during this trip!