I recently read an article about how society’s view of death has changed the funeral industry. Nothing new, right? What’s funny about the article is the fact it was written 4 years ago. The topic is still top-of-mind today. What that means is, there continues to be a slow migration towards offering the personalization that families request as many funeral homes are either hesitant to change or they are in denial.
Contemporary funerals don’t focus on life after death but rather about how we want to be remembered, or at least how our loved ones want us to be. In some cases, people who have planned their own funeral service can dictate this from the afterlife, so-to-speak. Remembrance isn’t anything new as much as it’s the methods that have changed. Whether prompted by the baby-boomer generation, technology or societal shifts, the move to a more personal and unique funeral experience is growing.
As a believer in the mantra, ‘the only constant in life is change’, it’s important to welcome this rather than ignore it and succumb to failure. In order to get a better grasp of what personalization may mean today, here are several areas that families consider when looking to make their funeral experience unique and special:
Location – While holding a service at the funeral home or church is still common, other locations include a family home, backyard, local park, banquet hall, or other place that may be special to the family or individual.
Casket – Today’s wide array of casket designs, models and colors offer a personal touch unmatched years ago. A number of custom casket designers can address nearly every request. Be sure to have those contacts available and allow for a reasonable time
Displays – Whether they consist of art, photos or favorite mementos, a display can be a powerful reminder of that loved one’s life and the impact they had on others.
Gift for attendees – A family may wish to offer a memento of the loved one for those in attendance which may include personal belongings of his/her life. From a hobby collection or favorite photos, awards or even a favorite candy bar or toy may be offered.
Participation – The unique interests or personality of a person may be honored by attendees that may bring something as simple as a photo or small object to presence of motorcycles, horses or costumed characters.
Music – The love of music can expand from a single piano or singer to a rock band or acapella group. Be prepared to handle the unexpected.
Hi-Tech – From music to Tribute Videos, Skyping and Facetime to webcasting and online participation, funeral service will continue to evolve due to technology.
While expanding your services for families, be aware that this should not change your core values, identity or hinder your reputation. Your strengths and differentiation can only be enhanced with a focused plan. One last bit advice as you go down this road - don’t try to please everyone, because you can’t and you never will.
In a world that moves at the speed of light, it’s clear that we must continue to evolve in order to keep up. So, embrace change and be ready for more. It’s inevitable.