I came across an article the other day in the Traverse City Record-Eagle with the headline “A New Life Story: Funeral home to move into bigger Location”. The story and accompanying picture caught my eye because the photo showed a construction sign that said, “Life Story Funeral Home – Traverse City.”
What really caught my eye was the name, Life Story Funeral Home. I’ve been in the business for over 35 years and am accustomed to seeing names such as Smith Funeral Home or Evergreen Funeral Home, but the sight of the sign that said “Life Story Funeral Home” caused me to read deeper. It, to me, just seemed like an odd name for a funeral home.
What I found out in the article that you can read here is that funeral home owner Vaugh Seavolt started his business, Life Story Funeral Home, in 2008 in a 2900 square foot building in Traverse City, Michigan. The concept of Life Story Funeral Homes, according to Seavolt, is a little different. It was started as a way for a funeral home partnered with a creative business to tell the story of a life in the way the funeral is produced as well as the creative materials such as register books, memory cards, video slideshows and life panels that Seavolt says,”tell people’s life story through photos.” You can see how the process works here.
Seavolt has had success in his venture and is moving into a new facility which will be 4,200 square feet and designed more in tune with the idea of telling a story. Seavolt points out, “For years funeral directors used the casket as the focal point rather than the person who has died.”
I also noticed when I went to the Life Story Funeral Home website that it lists other funeral homes in about a five state area that subscribe to the Life Story ideals. You can see a listing of the funeral homes here. What is really interesting to me about this phenomenon is how many established funeral homes have added “A Life Story Funeral Home” to their logo or tag-line. It makes me wonder if the group is on to something in getting their “brand” up and above the average Smith or Jones Funeral Home? It seems to me that the “Life Story funeral” must be very positive to the consumer — so much so that you are building your brand with it. This may be something to watch.