IM­MOR­TAL BRAND­ING

How Lon­don iden­tity agency Some­One re­branded a fu­neral di­rec­tion ser­vice for the era of on­line com­par­i­son sites

Computer Arts - - Contents -

Some­One’s fu­neral brand re­fresh

GET­TING STARTED

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.

THE VERDICT

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

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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

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