How do you brand and market your Direct Cremation?


It’s Thanksgiving time and, of course, we all think about turkeys.   I probably think about turkeys a little differently than you do, however, because at one time I served on the board of a turkey growing operation.  You might not know this but my home state of  Minnesota is the top producer of turkeys in the nation with about 20% of all turkeys raised in the United States raised in Minnesota. (Turkey by the numbers)


Another interesting thing that I learned from being on a “turkey board” was how the players in the industry “branded” their birds for maximum profitability.  For instance, they all have a “Good”, “Better”, and “Best” bird that they brand with different names for sale at the same grocery stores.  In essence, in many grocery stores the turkeys are competing against each other for sales, but the end result is the same turkey producer gets the sale regardless of which bird you buy.  From my point of view, the “Best” bird will have the highest margins, but may not be all that much better than one marked “Good”. . . . . It’s all about having ‘product extension” and “the perception” that there is something for everybody.


Which brings me to my death care thought of today. . . . .with the rapidly increasing death care category of “Direct Cremation with No Services” (DCNS) how will your funeral home “brand” your option for this service?  There seems like no slow-down in this category of service, but every funeral service home needs to determine if they want to “extend their brand” to DCNS or if they prefer not to “water down” their full-service brand and image with a non-full-service brand.


I thought of that when I noticed this recent article about a funeral home in Wisconsin that is extending its full-service brand to a branding of “Value Cremations”.  As you can see from the company website, the company has chosen to put its “Value” or lower priced cremations under its existing brand.  They have went so far as to describe and list price points for each of the “Value” options.


Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

Compare that to another funeral home I know of that has been around for over one hundred years and four generations.  Let’s just call them ABC Funeral Home.  They have a long history of beautiful facilities and reputation of stellar care to families they serve.  They do not offer “low-priced” or value cremation services under the ABC Funeral Home brand but do offer “low-priced” DCNS under a separate, but commonly owned company, XYZ Cremations.


They go so far as if potential clientele families call them about DCNS, they tell them they don’t offer it at the funeral home but they would suggest a company called XYZ Cremations.


In essence, they don’t want to get their ABC Funeral Home known as a “low-cost” provider.


So, which is the right way to go?  Quite frankly, I don’t think there is a “right or wrong” way with this decision.  But, I do think it has to be a well thought-out decision. . . . .it may make a difference what size of community you are in. . . . and what are the perceptions of your business already in that community.


Are you known as a “highly traditional” funeral home with beautiful amenities that people are willing to pay for. . . . or are you a “traditional” funeral home of more modest facilities and that “Blue-collar” feel and prices?  I think knowing who you are and where you are makes a difference on how you approach this issue. . . . And, known competence, reputation, and reliability in your community may make getting bigger margins easier in the DCNS business.


Like the turkeys in the grocery stores, branding will make a difference.  How you “brand” will make a difference.  In the death care business, we all want the sale regardless of the disposition type. . . . . but how we “brand” the sale could make a big difference in the profitability of it to the death care provider company handling the call.


Related ArticleCompeting brands that are owned by the same company.  Cheapism

Related Article5 examples of companies with great multi-brand websites.  Impact Plus

Related Article3 brand extension strategy examples.  Insight to Action


More than you need to know —  Being on the board of a turkey producer earned me my only invitation to the White House to date. . . For Thanksgiving 2017 our producer was selected to offer up the turkey for Presidential pardoning and all board members were invited to the White House.


Simply as a grateful American citizen it was a privilige and incredibly humbling experience being in the White House and in the Rose Garden for the pardoning ceremony.  Just so you know, we were brought through four separate scanning devices – one conducted by each branch of the military – before entering and given time to “wander” around the White House.  We were free to “wander” but if there were places they didn’t want us to go, military personnel stood in front of the doorway.


I didn’t get to the Oval Office, but our CEO Carl and his family were graciously invited in to it by President Trump and were able to spend 15 minutes just visiting with the President.


Our CEO Carl and his wife Sharlene and son presenting the turkey to President Trump.










My wife, Angie, and I in the Rose Garden. Doesn’t that Secret Service agent look leery of me??








Minnesota Congressman Colin Peterson. . . I’m guessing that I’m doing a little funeral home industry lobbying here!!!



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1 Comment

  1. John on November 21, 2023 at 11:26 pm

    I see two turkeys in that Fox News picture

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