There’s value in that signage

For a long-time I’ve been a believer in TOMA — “Top of Mind Awareness” for funeral home brand building which can lead to market share building.  “Top of Mind Awareness” is defined as one measure of how well a business brand ranks in the minds of the consumer.

And, I’ve always felt that TOMA was important in our profession because so many times it is around the casual talk that one will inquire to a neighbor or friend “what funeral home they would use if they needed one?”.  Or it comes up at a discussion among friends.  I think it is fair to say that the more times your funeral home is the one mentioned — the one that comes to mind first among the respondent — the more business you will build.

I was prompted to think about this when I saw an article that talked about how product exposure in movies is so very valuable to consumer companies.  As a matter of fact, it is so valuable that many consumer products pay to have their products featured in the backgrounds, or if lucky enough, in the main part of a movie.  It’s all about getting that “Top of Mind Awareness” to the consumer.

It brings me back to a time when our funeral home was located on a side-street in our community.  It was a nice quiet neighborhood to hold funerals and visitations, however, our exposure was not near as good as a colleague on the, much more traveled, main street of town.  I was approached by a national billboard sign company about purchasing a couple of months of billboard advertising on a couple of main thoroughfares in town.

I remember that I wasn’t really sold on the idea but then started to put on paper what my colleagues dual sided business sign was worth to him, not as a locator of his business, but as a billboard.  I decided that I needed to counter that exposure and leased two billboards. . . . and, I’m convinced, because we still rent the billboard space twenty years later, that the exposure that I received from that signage has helped our funeral home become the “Top of Mind Awareness” leader in the funeral home brand category in our community.

As I thought about what would be on the billboard I wanted to reinforce our brand as strong, but also wanted to give a short message about who we were.  Our billboards consisted of the logo shown along with short sayings that could easily be read as you drove by at 30 miles per hour.  A couple of these sayings were “Our family serving your family” or “Four Generations of Care” or “Serving our community since 1872”.

It was my opinion that the day in and day out repetition of community members driving by would make them much more aware of who we were and show our family commitment as well as our length of service to the community.  I think I was right on all of those thoughts.

And, while one pays for the rental of the billboard space for their message, I believe that the value of that repetitive message to consumers can be worth much more than the cost of the billboard space.  Much like product placement in movies, it is not only about the cost, but it is about the exposure and message that can multiply the value of the cost for your benefit if done right.

Building your brand to be noticed by the consumer and be at the “Top of their mind” can really pay dividends.  You want to get to that “Top of Mind” category leader in your community. . . . . Billboards can still help do it, but there are now a myriad of other ways that can be woven into your strategy. . . . such as Facebook, internet placements, and more.  Make sure that you have a strategy to build your TOMA.

Related— If you watch or look for product placements you will find them.  Interestingly enough, the 50 most-watched movies of 2021 were audited for product placement.  A couple of results are that Ford was in 39 of those 50 movies, but Dell Computers saw the most screen time. . . . and for value when you look at the number of viewers by the time a product was shown, Nike had $94 million worth of airtime value from the movie Space Jam:  A New Legacy.

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