Friday, January 28, 2011

Driving Custom Cremation Keepsake Trends

Driving Custom Cremation Keepsake Trends

By Yvette Dubel

If you are researching funeral services, funeral alternatives or custom cremation keepsakes, how happy you are with the result options will depend upon your reason for looking.

Customers, can I have your attention please?

Yes, I'm talking to you.

If you are doing research as a customer you may be looking for:

  • Immediate help that you don't have to think too much about - a death care package

  • Service or product solution that meet your requirement for thoughtful traditional death care service according to what you and your guest expect

  • Personalization of the expected - including attention to budget management

  • Personalization that is ecological and open to fluid expression

  • Primarily budget conscious alternatives

Most of the options you will find are very conservative and formal. Certainly there is nothing wrong with that; it serves those who want it.

On the upside you will find the number of providers offering green services has increased substantially as ten years ago virtually nothing of the sort existed as a personalization option. Of course, this is still a vague term since what that means seems to vary from one context to another. The difference now is that you as a customer, are empowered to direct "green standards" through your spending choices and provider selection.

Now what if the service experience you want is what most people would consider a bit exotic or unusual?

When I was researching for my father's memorial service, I knew I needed an experience that felt authentic. That meant it needed to express the specificity of our father - daughter relationship. And this is how the funeral alternatives industry emerged. They provide a customized service, often at lower costs, that do not sneer at creative expression as part of the memorializing experience.

Our connections to deceased loved ones are unique, sometimes complicated and loving but always personally specific so ultimately that is what you are probably really looking to express through the service or custom cremation keepsake you select.

"For decades, the cremation rate in the United States was less than 4%... in 2000 nearly 25% of the deceased were cremated; and in 2006, the cremation rate was projected to be 33.53%. As a result, the market for traditional funerals with traditional caskets has actually declined and in 2007, CFSA estimates that about 1,729,500 of 2,380,926 deaths resulted in the use of a traditional casket." the Casket & Funeral Supply Association of America reports.

As cremation rates have seen increased - it was being driven by more subtle social shifts. One being more value being placed on creative attributes in funeral alternative services, cremation keepsake and cremation urn alternatives. Instead of "put your name here" personalization, new product trends emphasize a more authentic personalization product experience. As these type of customer need grow, simultaneously death care providers are struggling to figure out how to respond with less access to monetary capital and limited staff resources.

These products may not be as easy for a customer to find, but they are worth the effort of digging a few pages deeper in search results to discover. There are also tools like the funeral alternatives and crematory directory listings where you can find growing resources being developed to address these gaps in information connections. Unlike old gate-keeper models that control customer access to information, Look for resources developing free to access services such as validated listings where contact information has been verified and confirmed. When you have a unique concept for what you want, the way you want to remember your loved one - whether it was a family member, a pet, or a friend you have every right to find help getting what you want.

Yvette Dubel is an artist, researcher and community change management consultant. She specializes in innovation, art based solutions, social capital, social responsibility, meaningful marketing, customer retention program development and seeing the connections between the seemingly unconnected. Dubel the artist+ founding-partner in SoulFood Studio originator of the #1 Original Memorial Art Planter from the Cosmic Tree Memorial Art Series The co-founder of Cultural Fusion Art as Philosophy Series & Research Project, and you can read her Community Change Management blog at

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