Giving Funerals Meaning

 

Market researchers attest to having wiser consumers today. Consumers have more access to information online and offline, which enables them to identify the brands, they can trust and the brands that are all talk but do not deliver. It is therefore more challenging to get our consumers to believe in our brand and choose us over competition. We have to be able to connect with our consumers at all possible touchpoints and provide them with an unforgettable user experience.

 

In his book entitled “Creating Meaningful Funeral Experiences”, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, award-winning grief educator and counselor in the United States, explained that the most unforgettable days of people’s lives are those which are life-changing. A death in the family is undoubtedly a life-changing event that leads us to believe that the funeral (and the events related to it) is a memorable experience. Therefore as DeathCare Experts and on a marketing standpoint, we must create meaningful funeral experiences in order for us to be in our consumers’ top of mind.

 

Dr. Wolfelt emphasized in his book that meaningful funerals enable the bereaved families and friends to:

  1. acknowledge the reality of death;
  2. move toward the pain of the loss;
  3. remember the person who died;
  4. develop a new self-identity;
  5. search for meaning; and,
  6. receive support from others.

 

These are mourning needs that when properly addressed prepare the bereaved for the new chapter in their lives without the person who died.

 

As DeathCare practitioners, we can form a response to each mourning need using Pine and Gilmore’s 4 realms of experience1:

 

Entertainment – using tasteful humor and music in making family members and guests feel comfortable;

Educational – imparting information on the importance of funerals;

Escapist – encouraging participation in symbolic activities and rituals; and,

Esthetic –creating a positive atmosphere that engages all senses (i.e. décor, lighting, scent)

 

We can actually apply these guidelines to our St. Peter Tribute. Being a solemn celebration of the life of our clients’ departed loved one shared among his/her families and friends, the St. Peter Tribute has all the elements necessary to create a meaningful funeral experience. By arranging a rich and meaningful St. Peter Tribute experience for our beloved clients, we shall be able to gain their appreciation and loyalty. We can also use the following pointers in providing our clients with the ultimate St. Peter Tribute Experience.

 

Some Helpful Ideas in Personalizing Memorial Services:

 

  1. Write a personalized obituary.
  2. Create a column in the guest book for people to jot down a memory after they sign their name.
  3. Display personal items or hobby paraphernalia on a table at the visitation, the ceremony and/or the gather.
  4. Have more than one person deliver the eulogy.
  5. Choose clothing for the person who died that reflects his/her life, interests, passions, etc.
  6. Choose clothing for the person who died that reflects his/her life, interests, passions, etc.
  7. show a videotape or slideshow of the person’s life during the funeral.
  8. Write a letter or draw a picture for the person who died. These can be placed in the casket alongside the body.
  9. Select flowers that were meaningful to the person who died.
  10. Invite people to write down a memory of the person who died and ask someone to read the memories aloud
  11. Create a funeral that captures the personality of the person who died.
  12. Display photos of the person who died at the visitation, the ceremony and/or the gathering.
  13. Use a lot of music, especially if the music was meaningful to the person who died or is to the family.
  14. Create a personalized grave marker.

 

Mourning for a loved one who has died is part of human instinct. It is necessary to be able to move on and start a new life without the person who has died. As St. Peterians, we have that opportunity to aid our clients in their path to healing through the St. Peter Tribute. Let us always strive for an exceptional and unforgettable St. Peter Tribute Experience and be remembered as the funeral services company that gives funerals significant and everlasting meaning.

 

1 B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore are the authors of The Experience Economy where the 4 Realms of Experience are discussed. In doing so, we shall be able to engage our clients on all levels – emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual.

Source: Wolfelt, Alan D. (2011) Creating Meaningful Funeral Experiences: A Guide for Caregivers. Fort Collins, Colorado : Companion Press

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