Welcome to Yellow Tux Week!
Yes, we will be talking about curiosity. No, we will not be talking about Curious George and his best friend, the man with the yellow hat. Instead, this is a continuation of last week’s conversation when I piqued your curiosity (hopefully) about Jesse Cole, owner of the super-successful Savannah Bananas baseball team…the man who is always wearing a yellow tuxedo and a yellow top hat!
Jesse Cole doesn’t own a yellow tux. He owns seven yellow tuxedos. For Jesse, a yellow tuxedo isn’t just another outfit, it’s his uniform. Seven days a week.
Because Jesse believes that in business, attention beats marketing 1,000 percent of the time. And he will do anything for attention.
It also doesn’t hurt that his yellow tuxedo ties him to his team, the Savannah Bananas…the first baseball team named after a fruit because, well, bananas are way more fun than say…the Savannah Spirits, Seagulls, Anchors, Ghosts, or any of the other run-of-the-mill suggestions from the Savannah masses.
In 2016, when Jesse first announced the fun name of the new team, many in the city were less than amused. Reactions included the following:
“Whoever came up with that name should be fired and ridden out of town on a rail!”
“This is an embarrassment to the city of Savannah.”
“The owner doesn’t know anything about baseball. Pathetic name and organization.”
“The single, most ridiculous, insulting, hideous, embarrassing, outlandish name for a baseball team. You’ll be giving away tickets to keep up the team’s morale!”
Ironically enough, some of the original “name trolls” are now on the waiting list for tickets to perpetually sold-out Savannah Banana baseball games.
The name garnered national attention and allowed Jesse to play up what he knew about his baseball brand. Instead of being long, slow, and boring…what we normally think of when we think of baseball games…Jesse realized he was in the entertainment business. The fans and the show came first. The team’s mascot would be named Split (might take you a second), the dance team would consist of grandmothers, “The Banana Nanas,” and team memorabilia would include specialty Dolce and Banana underwear.
These are just some of the stories of how Jesse and his team do baseball, and business, differently. Like bananas, there are a bunch more. He is never standing still and is always finding ways to stand out. My favorite story is how he embarked on a “World Book Tour” following the release of his first book, Find Your Yellow Tux: How to Be Successful by Standing Out and went to…Epcot. He posed with the book, wearing his yellow tuxedo, in the various countries throughout World Showcase, making it all the way to the Morocco Pavilion. There, he was asked to leave by a security guard because he was causing such a stir that guests started thinking he was one of the Disney characters. (With all the yellow, perhaps his face rang a Belle?)
So, what are you doing to stand out versus standing still? I’m curious, how are you doing business differently? When was the last time you stopped marketing and sought attention instead?
Years ago, when I was first starting out as a speaker, I met with a mentor, Antarctic Mike. Mike lives just north of San Diego, and his hero is Ernest Shackleton. Mike’s speaking program centers on Shackleton’s nearly failed Antarctic Expedition and the leadership lessons we can learn from it more than one hundred years later. Mike is so committed to Shackleton’s story that he once went to Antarctica to run a marathon (try training for that in Southern California!), and he wears a giant parka, his “yellow tux,” whenever and wherever he speaks.
Mike’s message to me was “Don’t just be another suit on the stage.” Find something connected to Walt…find something related to Disney…that will distinguish you, grab attention, get people curious, and separate you from everyone else. It took me a while, but eventually, I remembered that long ago my dream job was to be a tour guide at Disneyland. If I couldn’t be a “Plaid” at the park, now was my chance to put on a show and play one on stage!
On eBay, I found my red, plaid vest.
I now know that what I really found was my own yellow tux!