It’s difficult to talk about the end of life. Grief and loss are two of the hardest things that we face in the human experience. Catholic Cemeteries, a ministry of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, supports and comforts people in what may be the most difficult time of their life. They provide families with a beautiful place to prayerfully remember their loved ones.
Catholic Cemeteries needed a way to share the beauty of their ministry without triggering fears surrounding end of life. Knowing how cemeteries are often perceived, they wanted to find a way to avoid someone building walls or negative misconceptions before even knowing what the ministry is all about.
We partnered to uncover the emotional drivers behind the decisions and perceptions surrounding the cemetery. With new insight and understanding, we created a strategic plan to effectively move the ministry forward.
We started by getting to the heart of the matter, delving into the emotional responses that people associate with the cemetery. We discovered emotional needs and barriers, learning how both the biggest and the smallest details can either connect or alienate people from the ministry. With the new information, we began to strategize how we could reach emotional needs -- while avoiding barriers.
In order to utilize what we learned through emotional research, we needed a clear plan of action. A week-long strategy session provided the environment for the birth of such a plan. During the sprint we focused our new insights, while brainstorming ideas on how to implement them. At the end of the week, we emerged with a unified vision and set of goals.
As a result of the strategy sessions, we placed renewed emphasis on conversation with the community. Because the end of life is such a widely avoided topic in our culture, we decided to create a physical and social presence for Catholic Cemeteries that humanizes them as a ministry instead of a corporate business. We chose to highlight ministry and family, reaching out intentionally to connect and build trust with Catholics in the area. As a result of this shift, the target audience began to perceive Catholic Cemeteries as a ministry that they can trust their legacy with.
One of our first steps in establishing trust was to create a new brand and visual identity for Catholic Cemeteries. Based on our findings from emotional research, we wanted to be sure that they would be identified as a comforting and professional Catholic ministry from the first encounter.
With a clear understanding of the ministry and its purpose, we developed a consistent tone and language that reflects their charism of comfort.
Partnering with Catholic Cemeteries has enabled us to change the way that people perceive the cemetery. By bringing their ministry of care and comfort to the forefront, we have been able to improve both the effectiveness of their ministry and their overall presence within the Archdiocese of Vancouver. As a byproduct of increased emphasis on ministry, they have seen a significant increase in sales. Our partnership continues to explore ways to support and reach out to families, helping them to find hope and healing.