How do you stand out with community marketing

Aazar Ali Shad
4 min readJul 2, 2022

Minor Baseball Leagues are barely profitable.

But there’s one man who cracked the code.

The secret?

Fans first entertainment.

This story is worth telling:

1/ Some backstory:

Jesse Cole was a former baseball player. Baseball getting boring for people.

But he had a passion for the game to make it “fun”.

He bought a team in 2015.

He reinvented the team & game by focusing on “fans first”.

But how exactly?

2/ What does the term “fans first” means?

Customers are transactional.

Fans are forever. Fans support you even when you are down.

Everything they do in their marketing the question they ask — Is it fans first?

3/ Standing out by changing 3 things:

The name: The Savvanah Bananas

The outfit: The Yellow Banana Branding (especially that Tux)

Ticket price: $20 everything included

He was thinking differently — more on how did things differently:

4/ Anything that has “er” at the end, think again:

The first ball is thrown by fans.

Cheerleaders: The Banana Nanas (grandmas).

The Dad-Bod Dance Off.

The Banana Baby ritual: Singing the Lion King song to a young baby. Nants ingonyama bagithi baba!

Everything is for the fans.

5/ The Fans First Onboarding

The fans first onboarding focuses on creating an experience.

If you buy a ticket, a personalized email video is sent to you.

It’s all about showing gratitude in their style.

Jesse even sends a handwritten thank-you letter to someone every day.

6/ The Fans First Playbook

People buy from the people behind the brand, not just the brand — Jesse.

Result: Focus on players.

Players are bought into the story, beliefs, and mission.

They also get trained in affirmation, language, and dance.

7/ They have an enemy

The traditional baseball and the way it is played.

Having an enemy strengthens your narrative.

The Savannah Bananas know who they are NOT for.

8/ It’s more than JUST showmanship.

They embrace the weirdness.

They don’t take themselves too seriously.

It’s authentic, it is about creating a memorable experience.

9/ 5 mental models to learn the Savvanah Bananas:

• Eliminate friction — the $20 all-inclusive package (food, drinks, parking, and literally everything).

• Entertain always

• Experiment constantly

• Engage deeply

• Empower action

10/ You must wondering — Are they winning the games though?

You bet:

• 2016: Champions

• 2017: Semi-finals

• 2018: Semi-finals

• 2019: 1st Round

• 2021: Champions

10/ TL;DR on how to do community marketing well:

• Start with a mission: Fans first

• Stand out by being different, not better

• Make fans first onboarding delightful

• Create fans first playbook

• Have an enemy

• Embrace your weirdness

A key lesson from this story:

Jesse’s father used to say: “Jesse, swing hard in case you hit it.”

So, swing hard. Don’t be boring and bland.


Now here’s how can you apply these mental models to your business to ask yourself for 5-minutes:

  1. Is your business fans first?
  2. How do you stand out?
  3. Are you delighting your users at every stage of their journey?
  4. Is your team bought into the idea?
  5. Are you entertaining or educating your users at some level?
  6. Do you have an enemy?
  7. What is your weirdness that can be played as an advantage?

And if you want to dive deeper, listen to this episode by Jay Acunzo on Savvanah Bananas.

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