Ever heard of the Savannah Bananas? It’s the wildly popular wacky baseball team in Georgia that puts a premium on fast, entertaining play, rather than the traditional pastime with its rules and slow pace.
Sort of like the Harlem Globetrotters in spirit, maybe. The point is for everyone to have fun, and the team’s success has been based largely on its unique approach to promoting itself.
“People leave baseball in the middle all the time… so we had to change it,” team owner Jesse Cole says. Rules are different. There’s a two-hour time limit. Cole is known for wearing a bright yellow suit. The cheerleaders are Banana Nanas. On and on, at every opportunity for a corny pun or visual gag about bananas. Totally over-the-top fun. Get it?
In this case, wacky works.
What Are You Really Selling?
I got to hear Cole talk about how he built the team up from nothing to sellout attraction. He spoke Tuesday at the Creator Economy Expo in Cleveland to an audience of content creators like me, and I want to share some of his key points that are relevant to your business, too.
He says he learned he wasn’t selling baseball in the old-fashioned sense. He asked himself, “What are you really selling” and decided on: fun family entertainment
For you, are you selling time at your gym? Access to your equipment? What are you really selling?
How about quality of life? Better health? Physical autonomy?
Remember the orthodontist isn’t selling the braces — he’s selling the smile that follows.
5 Ways to Stand Out
He says there are five E’s that businesses can use to promote themselves and stand out.
1. Eliminate the friction. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. “What can we do to make this a better experience?” That’s where the focus on fun came in – along with eliminating hidden fees, including concessions in the ticket price, and removing all advertising from the ballpark.
2. Entertain always. “No matter what we do, we’re all in the entertainment business,” Cole said. “So how do we entertain our customers on a regular basis?” Look at each stage of your customer’s experience and make it entertaining, not rote.
3. Experiment. Come up with new ideas all the time. Try them out. Accept that a lot of them won’t work. “You only have to be right 51% of the time.”
4. Engage deeply. Cole recalled a hotelier who gave excellent individualized service to guests by “listening carefully, responding creatively.” So, get to know your prospects and clients, really listen to what pains them, and do for each what he or she needs or will find delightful.
5. Empower yourself and others. Everyone on your staff, every customer who comes into your gym or studio, needs you to help uplift them and help them achieve their potential. That doesn’t mean doing everything for them but giving them what they need to thrive.
He says this is how to stand out and become uniquely valuable to your fans. And it starts with knowing: What are you really selling?
This is what I’m always saying about content and letting people know you want to help those over 50.
Stand out. Be bold. And have fun while you’re doing it.