Basic Funerals: Scared Stiff

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Not everyone wants a bare bones funeral.  Which is why the name Basic Funerals is so bold:  it very clearly positions the company as the choice for inexpensive funerals, period.

So why are we now seeing billboards proclaiming “We do fancy funerals too”?  Answer: not everyone wants a bare bones funeral.  Basic Funerals has positioned itself in a narrow niche and is discovering it’s a chilling proposition to not pursue the business of every last living human being.

But that’s the trade-off inherent in strong brand positioning and names that reflect it.  No one who wants a fancy funeral is going to believe that a company called Basic Funerals is capable of pulling off a fancy funeral, no matter what a billboard says.  And many of the people who were already sold on the idea of a cheap funeral will now be wondering exactly how committed Basic Funerals is to bargain-basement deliveries into the beyond.

Adopt a position – even better, adopt a name that conveys that position – and stick with it.

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11 Responses to Basic Funerals: Scared Stiff

  1. Oh I’d definitely go for the basic funeral for myself – but then again, my funeral isn’t for me, so quite happy if my survivors want something more!

    I wonder: Would it have been better to have created a sub-brand?

    DRAFT: Something like “Fancy Funerals”. Maybe even have it come from the “Basic Funerals” people with a small/secondary statement “From the folks who brought you Basic Funerals – because we know some people want fancy – economically”.

    In my mind “Basic Funerals” has no hope in the ever-after to get the crowd who feel the funeral needs to be expensive to honour the deceased. But _maybe_ they might get the upsell to those who want something nicer, but are still thinking about the budget…?

    Utter nonsense, or dead on? Or is it really too challenging to capture the opposite audience & if the “corporate entity” really wants to, they just need to launch a completely different division/brand?

    • Andris and Associates says:

      Brent – I think that is a very interesting idea. The very clear positioning provided by the Basic Funeral name allows for an equally clear offering under the name Fancy Funerals. One potential concern is that people who want fancy funerals may not like such an obvious name.

      Any other opinions?

  2. Barbara Edivan says:

    Basic Funerals doesn’t work for me because it puts too many limitations on the brand, and it also classifies the buyer in an unappealing way. Softening the modifier is a good way to open the door to other customers, promote self esteem among buyers and yet convey the brand’s unique selling proposition.

    I’d tend toward positioning the brand as “Simple Funerals”. That allows for it being dignified, respectful and basic or fancy. Brand naming has a lot to do with making the customer feel better about themselves and their buying decision. That’s tough to do when the customer is in the position of dealing with a lot of new decisions, a fear of being disadvantaged by their own unfamiliarity with purchasing a funeral, and oftentimes getting the agreement of other involved parties.

    • Andris and Associates says:

      Thank you Barbara for this very thoughtful response. I am reminded of my feelings for the weight loss product “Obestrim.” What overweight person would want to walk to the cash holding a product with the word “obese” on it?

  3. William Vanovick says:

    I think you are missing the point. Nobody would even be interested if the company was called something generic. The reason you even spent the time to blog about them is because their name is Basicfunerals.com. Mission accomplished, they got your attention. Let’s face it, the name is genius. All they are doing is now broadening their market and structuring perception. To also think that they are going to lose their low cost customers because they run with a billboard that says fancy is really putting the blinders on because to your point, the name is Basicfunerals.com.

    • Andris and Associates says:

      Thank you William –
      I did say that lower cost seekers may become skeptical when the brand says it does fancy funerals too” – however, my main point is that people who want a fancy funeral are unlikely to use a brand called “Basic Funerals”.

  4. Arijit Banik says:

    Not everyone looks at the bottom line although it is a considerable factor. The relationship to the deceased and the emotional attachment (or lack thereof) can inevitably lead to an emotional (maybe even dare I say “irrational”) decision in terms on what to spend. On a related note, I don’t know if funeral companies have efectively tapped into the immigrant market that well since not every immigrant is necessarily a Christian denomination and as such there may be further fragmeneting of this already well dispersed sector. Logically, that would be a “growth” area in urban Canada given our aging demographics and increased immigration.

  5. Steve says:

    I presume the term “bare bones funeral” was a deliberate pun!

  6. Steve Cecil says:

    maybe all they need is a new slogan:
    A tisket, a tasket, Think outside the Casket

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