Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

I think it is fitting to celebrate Thanksgiving by reading Lincoln’s original Thanksgiving Proclamation with my family.  Here it is in its entirety: By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation 1863 The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To… [Read More…]

Is Funeral Service Ready For Innovation?

Uhhh…NO! I got an email from Harvard Business Review today. It invited me to take an assessment on innovation readiness for my company. Instead, I took it as if I worked for all of funeral service as I know and experience it. The results weren’t surprising but still disturbing. I did my best to be… [Read More…]

Casket Merchandising and The Hawthorne Effect

The Hawthorne effect occurs when individuals modify or improve an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed.  The concept is more simple than it sounds. People change their behavior when they are being observed. Where this applies to casket merchandising is subtle but important. The profession has come to rely on a… [Read More…]

Families Aren’t Your Typical Consumer

Many consider the advent of the Internet to have ushered in the “Age Of The Consumer.” The balance of power (inherently favoring the holder of information) has clearly shifted in a way that at least provides parity between vendor and customer. In the case of those unfortunate products and services which are considered commodities, the balance… [Read More…]

A New Approach To Price Shoppers

I subscribe to the Harvard Business Review Blog and an interesting article came through today that I wonder might have application to those of you who might be challenged by low price competitors. It is a way to separate those who are truly price shoppers and those who are looking for value. It also might… [Read More…]

How To Overcome Negative Stereotypes

“The best way to break a negative stereotype is to shock the stereotype” The Funeral Profession plays to the negative stereotype by the persona they cultivate: Formal, unapproachable, dignified, conventional, guardians of the past and so on. I have found one of the best ways to shock a stereotype is with humor. If I owned… [Read More…]

Why You Should Be A jerk More Often

Happened across this excellent advice the other day. Some things really are worth sharing. “Now, when I spell jerk with a small letter “j”, I’m referring to someone who is willing to say or do something that pushes a peer or subordinate far out of their comfort zones in order to make them or the… [Read More…]

The Funeral Director Who Invented Social Media

I am glad I don’t have to compete with Frank Dawson. His use of social media for the past 50 years has built a veritable competitive fortress. Ron Hast, the recently deceased owner of Mortuary Management magazine, had a very compelling habit. It was shortly after I started my career at Batesville Casket Company in… [Read More…]

7 Steps To Reinvent Yourself

Gonna keep this positive. So just a word for background. Any casual observer would see that the declining results funeral service is experiencing signal a much greater problem: A growing segment of the public isn’t sure why they need us or, worse, what they need us for. Now to better news: Statistically, the odds are very… [Read More…]

“We’re Just Going to Have a Party (Later On)”

How many families have walked through your doors in recent years requesting not a funeral, but a “celebration” or a “party?” Quite a few, if the conversations I regularly have with my friends in funeral service are any indication. While it is tempting to think your job is to create a celebration or a party… [Read More…]