A powerful name does wonders.
Recently, I went to a Savannah Bananas baseball game in, you guessed it, Savannah, Georgia. The intensity of the fanship was nothing short of remarkable. As I watched the fans pour into yet another sold out game, I was taken aback by their loyalty and excitement for the brand. Yes, everyone was wearing the T-shirts and the team colors. But to see people with Savannah Bananas tattoos and sculpting their facial hair into “banana beards” pointed to something bigger happening. Now, I’m not going to downplay the significance of how the event is run and all the efforts of the team, but this phenomenon was no question sparked by a powerful name.
After the game, I met with the owner, Jesse Cole, and talked about the feverish turnout. The team was only created last season and there were over 4,000 attendees at every game. This season is already sold out. And the team makes money too. In fact, it’s the only profitable team in the league by a long shot. All other teams have always lost money.
The Savannah Bananas may be profitable and boast die hard fans now, but when the team was first named, there was a public outcry. Many people thought it was ridiculous, a slam on baseball, and that no one would ever show. But the reality is, in this league, it’s the most popular team of all time.
And what drove its success home was merchandise sales. The day the name was picked, the community in Savannah deemed it outrageous, but merchandise sales exploded. Thousands of orders came in from all over the country and ESPN picked up on the story. Four months after the announcement was opening day. It was a sold out game and has been ever since.
Names matter. Have the courage to be different. Have the courage to pick a name that speaks to what your business is all about. You may also have a sell out on your hands.