How to Thrive in a Crowded Market

· Jesse Cole,Savannah Bananas,Branding,Marketing,Crowded Marketplace

I just about died laughing on the phone the other day, from hold music! Let me explain…

We’re working with the owner of the Savannah Bananas on an event for September 2023 (Learn More), and we’ve been finalizing a ton of details lately. The other day, I gave them a call to work through some questions. As I was speaking with the young lady from the office, she asked if she could put me on hold for a short minute while she confirmed some details with another individual.

Of course I said yes, and began to tune out the hold music while I responded to emails.

Then I paused, really listened to the music, and began dying of laughter. Why? Their hold music was THIS! (For those of you not interested in getting it stuck in your head, it’s the Banana Phone song.)

It was absolutely hilarious, and not just because their whole brand is built around bananas!

In case you didn’t know…

The Savannah Bananas are an off-season baseball team. Which means that it’s one of the teams that college players join in the off-season to keep their skills sharp. It’s a very tiny niche, and not one that is particularly well-known. Even further, the people of Savannah, Georgia, were not exactly thrilled to have a bunch of bananas representing them when the team launched just a few years ago.

Jesse never waivered. He held true to what he knew would be incredible and now this team is repeatedly being featured on ESPN. Something no one else on their level gets to boast. 

They quite literally went from having a poor reputation because of their name, to being one of the most well-known baseball teams in the country.

How did this happen?

How in the world did they go from being a financially broke team with a community that wasn’t interested in them, to being booked solid with waitlists that are thousands of people deep?


But I’m not talking about any old “throw our logo on our flyers” branding. This branding permeates the whole team and turned the industry on its head. 

Jesse Cole, the owner of the Savannah Bananas, took a stale industry that was barely surviving and turned it into (as their rave reviews say) “A circus!”

Jesse himself shows up everywhere wearing a yellow tuxedo (think I’m joking? This was how he showed up to Tech Rehearsal for the Grow Retreat in 2020!) and he’s so tall that he actually kind of looks like a banana! Their team mascot is named Split (Like the banana ice cream dish), their games have free food included in the admission price, and every aspect of the game is designed to thrill and entertain.

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It’s Intentional.

If you know of Jesse, you also know he has a book called “Find Your Yellow Tux” (Not a sponsor).

I highly recommend the book, so I want to give you a glance into the main point of it: find what makes you stand out.

In other words, discover what makes you memorable and embrace it in every aspect of your company. For Jesse, it was the Bananas concept. He looked at their industry and realized that there are thousands of baseball games played to empty seats throughout the year. He knew they couldn’t be just another “empty seat stadium” and determined they were going to pack their seats by making it a fun experience again.

Jesse and his team created an entire experience where they put the Bananas in Savannah Bananas. To the point that guests are greeted at the gate by people who are already hyped up and excited before they even meet Jesse and the mascot. Beyond that, they found the reasons people struggle to have fun at the ballpark and removed those from their own games: things like food are free, and the whole experience is something that is more than just a baseball game.

So how did I get there from Hold Music?

Because it’s something tiny. Something you wouldn’t even normally notice, but it’s a fun little taste of the experience before you even get on-site. It’s their dedication to what makes them stand out that has gotten them a waitlist thousands of people deep. Dedication that goes even to their hold music.

How does this apply to you?

You can take this concept and run with it too! Not necessarily with bananas, but with whatever makes you memorable. Identify what YOUR version of the Yellow Tux is, and begin building it into your brand. 

Obviously not all at once…

Getting to the Savannah Bananas level of immersion takes time, but it’s well worth it! Because when you create a cohesive experience all the way through your brand, you create something that people remember and hold onto for longer than whenever they used your services.