Arkansas Funeral Directors Association

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Branding in Funeral Service

In the 2006 movie Borat, the main character, a fish-out-of-water journalist from a fictional Eastern European country, visits a supermarket and tries to make sense out of the myriad packages in the cheese aisle. "What is theese?" he asks the store manager. "Cheese," the manager says again, and this continues as Borat inquiries about every single package, testing both the manager's and the audience's patience. Silly as it is, this illustrates an important point: In America, there's no wanting for options. Just visit the cereal aisle or the yogurt section or practically any other aisle of the supermarket. Yikes! The only way packaged goods producers can succeed in such an overcrowded environment is to differentiate their products with branding, and they'll spend millions of dollars doing it. So while there may be a half-dozen different cereal boxes on the grocer's shelf, the majority of shoppers will reach for the Kellogg's or Post brands because they're familiar and trusted, just as Campbell's will sell the lion's share of soup. The basic fact is that consumers will inevitably put their trust in a brand they've heard about rather than in an unknown label. Indeed, research has shown that consumers will happily spend a premium of up to 10 percent or more for a brand they recognize. 

Branding In the Funeral Business

It's no different when it comes to funeral homes and cemeteries, with one significant caveat: From the consumer's standpoint, if funeral homes and cemeteries could just go away, they'd be happy. Unless the need is pending or immediate, it's not something bleeping away on consumers' needs radar screen. So thinking about the neighborhood funeral homes, for example, most consumers will lump these establishments into a category that's as generic as cheese. Even if the sign says, "Jones Funeral Home" or "Smith Memorial Chapel," unless the consumer has already had some reason to interact with the place, it's just another funeral home filled with caskets, an undertaker or two, some embalming fluid and dead people. It takes branding to make any one of them- preferably yours- stand apart in the field and become the preferred provider. If your brand is known and trusted, the consumer will make the first- and usually only - call to you regardless of the price difference.

Katz. "Why Your Business is like a package of cheese?." The Director March 2016: 42 Print

Arkansas Funeral Directors Association
523 South Louisiana  ♦  Suite 222  ♦  Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-246-8842  ♦  Fax: 866-935-6893
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