How London identity agency SomeOne rebranded a funeral direction service for the era of online comparison sites
SomeOne’s funeral brand refresh
Simon Manchipp Ian Strang, the CEO and co-founder of Funeralbooker, discovered SomeOne by our reputation. He got in touch to tell us about how he was rewriting the rules of death in the funeral services sector.
These days, everyone compares products and services, but this hasn’t been happening when it comes to funerals. People panic, go to their high street and blindly go along with what the funeral director tells them. The idea behind Beyond was to develop a brand that helps you choose funeral services more intelligently, and that extends into other related services like writing wills. They needed a single-minded, clear, memorable visual and verbal identity that does something nobody else does in this market. Namely, to have an idea, not just a picture of a lily.
We love big, complex and meaningful challenges like this, ones that transform businesses, sectors and society. First, we conducted extensive research and audits into the sector to ensure that the work we did would stand out and appeal to a wide market.
The strategic aspect came from three key insights. First, our judgement is clouded
in times of distress, such as a bereavement following a loss, so we look for guidance. Second, many traditional services tend to capitalise on this clouded judgement with opaque business practices. Third, by comparison, Beyond sets out to offer guidance with total transparency.
The combination of these three insights led us to identify the fact that the brand is largely about time – saving time, making the most of it and helping people when time has run out.
DEVELOPING THE BRAND
Simon Manchipp and Thomas Dabner Our strategy led us to explore the notion of a mascot, a character who could guide people through their choices at a difficult time. We looked at other routes – one was about life as a journey – but people couldn’t get over the mascot. It was a conversation starter, which is a powerful element of any branding exercise.
One of the greatest compliments as a creative is the client’s shocked outburst: “You can’t do that!” Followed shortly after by the realisation that what you’ve suggested is exactly what they need. That’s what happened with Beyond.
The team at Beyond are very design savvy and helped steer our work in a direction that suited their expectations. A progressive approach was required and that extended into the look and feel. Everything has been designed using a mobile-first methodology, but it isn’t limited by it. We’ve designed a brand that capitalises on the best way to communicate in each channel.
Choosing the right colour is always highly subjective and emotive, and brands often like to lay claim to a single colour. Here, the founders simply loved yellow and this was a key point in the brief.
A warm, positive yellow initially seemed like a bold choice, but it had been ignored by other brands in the sector. It was perfect for giving the company a visual pop while the others plodded on with muted greys, blues and pseudo reassuring colour schemes.
Layout and imagery follows a similar pattern in this market – stock images of doves, sunsets and flower arrangements are used endlessly.
Products which centre around the afterlife suffer enormously from mimetic isomorphism – the phenomenon that occurs when each organisation across a sector cross-pollinates so heavily through the sharing of staff and practices that they become indistinguishable.
We created a mascot and icons, and used the typeface ParaType for a serious but otherwise light and contemporary tone and feel.
Simon Manchipp Tastefulness is important for a project like this, but those finding themselves in need of specific advice or products don’t want endless pity or to be treated with kid gloves. They are looking for calm, professional and useful advice rather than an apology at the beginning and end of every conversation. With Beyond, arranging a will needn’t involve a costly visit to a lawyer. A free online will service is offered. It’s clear, direct, easy and trustworthy.
As our research showed, bereavement services are lagging behind other brands that operate in everyday life.
Beyond is introducing the power of digital transformation in the industry, and also proving how effective visual and verbal branding can be. It’s one of the first in the market to really offer choice, service and clarity in what is a surprisingly murky world of upselling and opaque pricing structures.
Since the introduction of the new identity and the mascot, traffic to the website has doubled, and conversations have started in the sector where previously there were none. It’s already a tremendous stimulant for new clients.
And branding is never finished. With the rebrand kit complete, things can iterate based on feedback we receive.
SomeOne brought a new visual approach as well as a new tone to the funeral services sector with the Beyond identity. This print collateral offers the bereaved clear, practical advice rather than condolences and pictures of clouds and flowers.
02 The mascot is easily reproduced as a vinyl toy, able to appear in the premises of Beyond’s partner businesses.03 He doesn’t have a name, but the mascot’s development work started on the sketchbook before the design was handed over to a 3D modeller, who then developed the finished character. 02
10-12 Taking design inspiration from comparison sites, Beyond begins as a mobile experience, but the brand can continue into print collateral for presentation in funeral directors’ offices.13-14 This desktop cube is a simple way of expressing the brand’s mission and message. 10