Funeral Industry News

How to Not Suck at Funeral Personalization [Interview]

July 15, 2013

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

How to Not Suck at Funeral Personalization [Interview]

Article by: Krystal Penrose, FuneralOne

There are only a few people in the funeral profession who I consider to be an expert in funeral personalization. Brian Love, Monument Specialist at Bailey Love Mortuary is one of them.

I had the chance to “virtually” sit down with Brian and ask him a few questions about funeral personalization. During the interview, we talked about how his funeral home approaches funeral personalization, what he thinks personalization really is, and why he thinks it’s valuable.

Here’s what Brian had to say:

1. What does a “personalized service” mean to you and your funeral home?

It means each service should be tailored to each life.  We strive to help our families celebrate life and want to be remembered as a place they can go to that offers that service.  Whether it’s about customizing a service to reflect a person’s life, or just serving each family uniquely – that’s what we consider a “personalized service.” Personalized attention not only shows that we care, but it also means a lot to the families we serve.

2. What does a personalized service NOT look like ?

Nothing over the top. There needs to be a fine balance of unique touches that honor the particular deceased and their family.

3. What value do your families see in personalized services?

The services we provide help families grieve. We’ve observed at nearly every service how old memories resurface… ones that are positive. Memories are good for psychological health and emotional health. In fact, the chemicals released during a happy event are also released when remembering the actual event that happened.

4. Tell us about one (or a couple) of the most amazing personalized services you’ve created for families.

Haha, there is a lot. Families know us for our personalization, so they tend to already have an idea in mind when they arrive.  My main goal is to create an environment for sharing and an atmosphere of healing and laughter. We’ve had medical service vehicles line the entire parking lot and a medical helicopter fly over during the service in honor of the deceased, we’ve had hog roasts, motorcycle and classic cars parade to the cemetery.

There is one service that stands out the most for me though – my cousin’s funeral. Being able to serve my own family in such a devastating time was very special. Through our personalization efforts, we’ve noticed quite an increase in our service lengths because people are sharing memories and feeling comfortable in that moment. That’s the reason why we do what we do – it’s a great feeling, really.

5. Do you think personalization is what makes funeral service valuable? Why or why not?

With a younger generation that is all about being unique and different, we, as service providers, need to be willing to adapt and change.  I believe personalization is one of the key elements that transforms a good service into a great one. Funeral service is already valuable, but personalization takes it to a whole other level.

6. How has the Baby Boomers’ obsession with personalization affected your funeral home?

It’s now expected :-)  Families are already prepared with photos, memorabilia, and other items to decorate our chapel with.  We consider it to be part of a “normal” service now.

7. Ok, my final request. Give us 4 tips for funeral homes who want to “not suck” at funeral personalization!

1) Be willing to adapt to what people want.

2) Pay attention to small details, as those details make a bigger difference sometimes than you might think.

3) Coordinate a presentation theme (golfer, farmer, sailor, sports enthusiast, etc…) that uniquely reflects that life.

4) A good personalization provider like funeralOne makes all the difference in the world!  🙂

What does funeral personalization mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!



brian love

Brian represents the fourth generation of the Love family in funeral service. He is a member of both the Huntington Lions Club and MINICCI (MINI Cooper Club of Indiana). Brian is also proud to serve his community as an Extrication Technician for Huntington County Rescue.