Bringing your public image to reality

If you are operating a business, such as a funeral home or cemetery, and that business has been around for several years, whether you like it or not, that business has a perception to the public.  The good news is that if the business has been around for a length of time, then it is fair to assume that there is a pretty good public image of the business in the consumer’s mind. . . . or the business would have gone downhill already.

However, as businesses change and the potential new clientele has differing ideas or expectations than the clientele from a different era, sometimes a business may want to alter that image to make the business more desirable to that new clientele.  This is where having that solid public perception can sometimes be difficult to change.

Don’t get me wrong, brand awareness is almost always good. . . . .however, the perception of what you do with that brand does change among differing consumers.  For instance, I was once a partner in a professional sports franchise. . . . .at that time a good seat to watch the game was what we believed people came to our business for and we marketed for that.  Team owners have now realized that we can draw more people to the event if we market the experience rather than the game as the average consumer is more interested in the  “Experience” rather than “The Game”.  To that end, new stadiums and arenas are being built with many more opportunities for clients to gather and enjoy the experience rather than just sit in a seat. . . . . .Think of suites, drink rails, bars and restaurants inside athletic venues.  . . they all lead to “The Experience”.  In addition, even the types of concessions being sold, such as craft beers, are part of the experiential equations.  It is no longer “The Game”, but “The Experience” that brings in the clients.

A typical Anderson Funeral Home ad

So, what about death care? . . . . What are your clients looking for?  When I ran our funeral home our brand was, in my opinion, always known for professionalism, fairness, sensitivity, and the ability to get the job done.  I always capitalized on that by being bold and using those types of words in our advertising and public relations. . . . reinforcing in the consumer that what they thought we were, we actually were.  I still think that is good marketing and public relations.

However, what about “The Experience” that the new consumer may be looking for?  I thought of this subject when I recently read this article from Adweek about new direct cremation company Solace and their first advertising campaign.  The title of that article is “A cremation service explores the beauty of memories in its inaugural, animated campaign”.   The original three 30-second ads “combine playful animation and intimate storytelling” according to the article.

From my point of view, all three of the Solace Cremation ads are very well done and, I believe, are intended to give the consumer the thought that at Solace “the experience will be about memories”.  I also happen to think that is a powerful pull on a consumer who will think about suffering loss.  Here are the clips:

I’ve been a fan of the start-up Pure Cremation from the United Kingdom.  Their ads also go to the experiential parts of death care.  However, it is interesting to note, that they seem to pan the “historical death care experiences” and if you choose Pure Cremation, then you don’t have to experience some of those historical traditions- which many of today’s death care clientele seem to want to do without. . . . . to these new clients, it’s about “No fuss”.  Here are some of their short promotional clips.

Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

I think it is an interesting thing about marketing.  From someone’s perspective, marketing can seem to look totally different, but it can still be highly effective dependent on where you want to position your business and the clientele that you want to reach and convince.

There is no doubt that your funeral business has a brand and a brand awareness with the public.  Have you thought it through to make sure it is still the message that you want to give to potential clientele in the age we now live in?

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