5 Amazing Secrets Your Funeral Home Can Steal From Apple


I know what you’re thinking.

Apple?  Really?

You’re probably saying: “I’m dealing with the emotions of families who have lost loved ones and have truly major concerns on their minds!  How do I apply learnings from a brand that sells computers and phones to my funeral home?”

Believe it or not, there’s a lot the funeral profession could learn from Apple. And with the new iPhone being announced today, there isn’t a better time to feel inspired and learn how you can offer an “the Apple experience” at your funeral home.

To better understand where I’m coming from, take a moment and think about your first experience with Apple. I remember mine.

I was one of the first to order the legendary iPhone, which would be the first touchscreen smartphone in history. When I finally got it in the mail, I nearly cried. I was a part of history at that very moment. I felt like Steve Jobs had just knocked at my door to hand me the iPhone himself. It also helped that everything from the packaging to the typography and even the setup instructions were simple, incredibly easy to use, and absolutely stunning. I was in love and I didn’t care who knew it.

The Apple obsession

Since my first experience with Apple, I’ve had a slight obsession with them and Steve Jobs, and I’m not the only one. In fact, Apple has created quite the cult over the years. People live for Apple.

Take Gary Allen, for example. He traveled 3,200 miles just to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Apple Store…


Then there are the extreme fans who shave the Apple logo on their head…


And then there’s infamous lines people suffer through, awaiting the opening of an Apple store or the release of a new product. The longest time someone’s ever waited in line? That’d be 240 HOURS for the iPhone 4s. That’s 10 DAYS…10 days!


This isn’t by chance – there is a reason behind all of this. Apple’s brand does many things that empower people to obsess over them, and today, you’re going to learn their tricks of the trade and start offering an Apple experience at your funeral home, too.

Here’s how…

Secret #1: Tell a great (and authentic) story

First, let’s show you what we mean by a great story. Here’s part of the story Apple tells about how they came up with the final design for the EarPods for the iPhone5:


To read the full Apple EarPods story, click on the image.

To read the full Apple EarPods story, click on the image.


What I love so much about this story is the passion and commitment they express in it. Apple envisioned every single circumstance in which you could be using these earbuds and figured out how to make the product work, and work well, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

How you can do this at your funeral home:

You have your own heritage and commitment.  Perhaps you’ve been in business for many years.  Either way, you understand the trials and tribulations of families who have lost loved ones.  You’ve been through it.  You live through people’s memories and pain every day and you do everything you can to make it easier for those in these situations.

You want to convey this.  So tell a real story.

Perhaps you can tell a story about how you went the extra mile for a family.  The experience a family had (in their words) with your funeral home.  Stay away from the web copy that someone could find on any other funeral home website and tell the story about what you’ve done to deliver on the needs of families over the years.


Secret #2: Keep it simple

There are many, many great leaders who have spent the time studying and conveying one of the most important aspects of the Apple brand – simplicity.  

This excerpt from the book “Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success” by Ken Segall sums up the heart of the brand’s focus on simplicity:

Apple’s package-design team had just returned from its presentation to Steve Jobs, and the faces told the story – they had that “things didn’t go exactly as we planned” look.

“The suspense is killing me,” I said to the project leader. “How’d it go this morning?” “Well,” he said, “Steve hit us with the Simple Stick.” Translation: Jobs had rejected their work – not because it was bad but because, in some way, it failed to distil the idea to its essence.

The person leading the project had directed the team to create packaging for two versions of the same product. Jobs had decided this was brain-dead. “Just combine them,” he said. “One product, one box.” There was no need to explore the idea of a second package.

He was right. It was simpler, quicker, better. The conversation was over in minutes, and it left one very smart and talented group of people wondering why they hadn’t thought of that before.”

How you can do this at your funeral home:

Hey, there is no question that simple is hard.  It’s always difficult to make something complicated appear to be simple. But, you should do it anyway. Make the copy on your website as simple and straightforward as can be.  Sum up pricing in a clear and not confusing way.  Have the exact plan for services and a tribute for the family before they even walk in the door.  Anticipate their questions beforehand and have an answer for them.

This quote by Steve Jobs sums it up perfectly:


Making the process simple and intuitive means the family sleeps better at night and hopefully, you do too!


Secret #3: Empower people

Apple is for everyday people, not those who are highly tech savvy. They just want to use a great product that works.  At the Apple store, you’ll never have to wait in a long line (unless its a new release of course) because within seconds, an Apple expert will be there to help answer your questions before you’ve even had a chance to figure out what your exact question is.  You’re never wandering around bewildered, because that Apple expert anticipates your next question and keeps you at ease. Sound familiar?

How you can do this at your funeral home:

Your families don’t want to go searching for lots of resources. So, find out what they’re looking for and offer it to them in the fastest, easiest way possible. Sometimes this involves offering families something they don’t even know they need yet. For example, you know families are going to need help overcoming their grief after the service, so offer them a way to do this in a way that makes them comfortable, such as online interactive grief counseling.

You are there to make people feel empowered.  Don’t let people wander around looking for an answer.  Create an experience that ensures that everyone is empowered, comfortable and at ease. As Steve Jobs said, Things don’t have to change the world to be important.  Making people feel empowered in a time of death and sadness could be the best, and most important, thing you do.


Secret #4: Let your families do whatever they want

Okay, that sounds a little extreme, but watch this video below and you’ll understand what we mean:

As you can see, Apple really focuses on creating a unique, personal experience for every single customer that walks through their doors… even if it means allowing goats in their store.

How you can do this at your funeral home:

You can do the same at your funeral home by allowing families to completely customize their funeral service experience. You could put blank picture frames on the wall and let them fill in the pictures themselves, bake their favorite cookies before the service, provide beverages of their choice… just get creative!


Secret #5: “Think different”

If you forget everything else I said in this blog post, please let “think different” be the one thing you remember. There’s no better way to explain this than to have you watch my favorite commercial of all time. Be prepared to be inspired:


How you can do this at your funeral home:

Challenge status quos. Always ask “why?”. Never offer something at your funeral home just because a competitor is. Have the courage to fail and to learn from it. In everything you do, think different. And if it’s not working, move on to the next idea until you find what feels best for your families.


You can be like Apple too

Remember, you are in the business of empowering people… just like Apple. So make it your goal to ensure that no matter what you do at your funeral home, every single client family leaves happy.

And of course, don’t forget what a wise sage once said: “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”


What do Apple and your funeral home have in common? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Joe Joachim


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  1. JackM

    Great thinking, Joe, in writing this advice for those actually working with client families. Being prepared to make the difference sets us apart.