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Episode 108 — Jesse Cole — Fans First: Change the Game, Break the Rules, and Create an Unforgettable Experience

"I believe everyone has something that makes them stand out, and if you amplify it by 10, it's game over. I was able to find that both personally and professionally." - Jesse Cole

  • How did Jesse become the man in the yellow tuxedo and top hat?
  • Who are the Savannah Bananas?
  • How did Jesse go from player to general manager of a minor league baseball team, all before the age of 30?
  • How do Jesse and his team create unforgettable moments in every game?
  • What did it take to convince the baseball players to join in viral TikTok dances?
  • How did the keen observation of fan behavior lead to the creation of an entirely new sport: Banana Ball?
  • How can an attorney or law firm owner apply this larger-than-life, mold-breaking thought pattern to their practice?
  • How did the decision to cut hundreds of thousands of dollars of sponsorship benefit the Savannah Bananas?

Whatever is Normal — Do the Opposite

A perennial search for “the moments you won't believe” fuel the man in the yellow tuxedo: Jesse Cole, owner of the Savannah Bananas. Heralded as "the greatest show in baseball" by ESPN, Jesse draws inspiration from the greats of entertainment and innovation.

By all accounts, the Savannah Bananas shouldn't exist. Banana pep band. Dancing players in kilts. One all-inclusive ticket. No nameable players. Dad-bod cheerleading squad. Yet they are the best in the league with millions of dollars in merchandise sold globally. A true circus, enjoyed by over 100,000 fans annually in a consistently sold-out 1920s stadium. This success did not happen with the first pitch of a banana from the mound on opening day. Fifteen years of experiments, feedback, and failure got the Savannah Bananas to where they are today.

"You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The five people I spend the most time with are Walt Disney, PT Barnum, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and big-thinking innovators. I know that sounds crazy, but I read books. I wake up almost every morning and read a book by one of them just to get my mind thinking bigger and thinking differently." - Jesse Cole

Author of the wildly successful "Find Your Yellow Tux," Jesse is out with a new book. "Fans First" is a crash course in standing out, explosive growth, and creating fanatic fans. On today's episode, Jesse chronicles the journey from barely making payroll to sold-out stadiums, putting the fan at the center of every decision, and cultivating a culture of experimentation.

Create Joy

Everyone — even attorneys — should entertain. Provide enjoyment. Iterate. Connect with clients in a real way. Be memorable and fun — a human that clients want to have a conversation with. When was the last time a client raved or was excited by how professional an interaction was?

Professionalism, while necessary, lacks excitement. The solution: map out moments of interaction along the client's journey. Find little tweaks that are authentic to your practice. Change your hold music. Make a memorable voicemail. Craft emails that have accessible language. These little changes can provide unexpected enjoyment with a lasting impact.

Key Takeaways:

  • Break with tradition. Find what has the most impact in setting your firm apart. Be willing to be bad at some things so that you can be amazing at others.
  • Be your biggest fan. Identify what energizes you about your practice. Stay in your lane and spend time doing that thing. Passion is contagious.
  • Keep moving forward. You can’t make everyone happy. When you know your marketing will draw criticism, double down on your ideal audience.

Links and Resources

Author

Michael Mogill, Crisp, and Jesse Cole