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The value of ‘local’ in times of uncertainty

Dignity Funeral Directors

Competing against price with the power of ‘local’

Dignity provides funeral services across the UK, with over 830 funeral locations and 46 crematoria nationwide. It has always been focused on providing an outstanding service to local customers, as part of the community it serves. Working with a large network whilst keeping a strong sense of local personalisation and individuality is what We Are Acuity specialises in – a key factor when it came to creating a flexible, templated approach to communication, which connected with every local audience, no matter what the location.

“Average market share has increased to 4.6% from previous 3.9% in Leicester 😁”

Kimberley Perry - Dignity Funerals Campaign Manager

Challenge

As with all sectors, the funeral director market has become increasingly price focused. With so many tools to quickly search for the lowest price, the value of the service that Dignity provides was becoming overlooked by customers who, more often than not, are in a distressed state when searching for a provider and looking for a quick resolution.

The challenge was to raise awareness of local Dignity funeral directors, and re-establish them as part of the community and the first choice for local people. This would position them in direct opposition to more ‘mercenary’ brands which focused purely on price: choosing Dignity would ensure loved ones would receive the send off they deserved at an affordable price.

However, we needed to make sure that this approach would work for all locations, creating a consistent (and easy to manage) format, but with comms which felt individually produced for a local audience.

As a test case, Dignity asked We Are Acuity to look at a campaign targeting three separate areas of Leicester: central Leicester (12 branches), Loughborough (three branches) and Hinckley with just one branch.

Dignity-Leicester campaign-CS visual-3

Insight

Research showed that ‘fit’ can often be a deciding factor when searching for funeral services, not just price. This insight justified our decision to champion ‘local’ fit rather than price, but we also were aware that there would still be people who would just be looking at costs.

To tackle this, and ensure that this potential group of customers didn’t exclude Dignity from their decision-making, we leveraged one of Dignity’s other brands, Simplicity Cremations. Where Dignity focuses on service, Simplicity is a more price-driven alternative that strips away the unnecessary flourishes to keep costs low, but retain a high level of sensitivity and care.

With buy-in from the client, we also included the Simplicity logo on this Dignity-focused campaign, something that had never been tried before. Our thinking was that if a prospective face-to-face customer was focused purely on cost, then the funeral director could switch seamlessly to the Simplicity services, retaining the halo effect of the Dignity level of attention, but with the benefit of cheaper prices. Alternatively, if the customer was researching on his or her own, the Simplicity logo acted as a signpost to cheaper prices, without losing the business to a competitor.

Dignity-Leicester campaign-CS visual-4

Solution

We had a strategic approach. To bring it to life we needed a solution that would resonate loudly on this local level. With so many locations across the UK, we realised that a branch-by-branch solution would be impossible, but as we thought more about what it meant to be local, we realised the answer was to actually widen our gaze a little. Being local isn’t necessarily about recognising an individual branch, or street, it’s about the ‘universal’ local things: landmarks that everybody knows, that define the area and that people take pride in.

So our solution was to identify leading landmarks in each area of the campaign, and feature those prominently: so the Loughborough audience would see Queen's Park, whilst the Hinckley audience would see Hollycroft Park. To make a strong connection to the kind of traditional, care-focused service that Dignity provides, we avoided photos and instead created timeless watercolour illustrations of each of the landmarks.

In this way, each advertisement, leaflet or poster captured the local fit in a style that reinforced Dignity’s service USP. With headlines focused on the local message and copy/details that could be tailored easily to each specific area, we delivered a template approach that could be used across the UK and still feel individual to each location.

Dignity-Leicester campaign-CS visual-5

Results

The Leicester campaign ran through Christmas 2020, and included press ads of various sizes, posters and door drops. In total, this required more than 50 distinct executions, but, once the template had been finalised, it was achieved quickly and simply.

 

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