Jun 11 • 18M

Is Direct Cremation Disrupting The Legacy of Traditional Funerals in the UK Forever?

The Art of Memorialising - Edition #12 - June, 2022

 
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Peter Billingham
The Art of Memorialising curates news on digital immortality, digital legacy, digital life curation and all things #Deathtech. Welcome to The Art of Memorialising - an audio newsletter by Peter Billingham from Death Goes Digital and Memorable Words Eulogy Writing services.
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How will you stay informed about digital immortality, digital legacy, digital life curation, and all things #Deathtech?

Welcome to The Art of Memorialising - an audio newsletter by Peter Billingham from Death Goes Digital and Memorable Words Eulogy Writing services.

The Art of Memorialising brings you the latest news on digital immortality, digital legacy, digital life curation and all things #Deathtech.

Thanks for being here.

What Will You Find In This Issue?

  • The 10 Best Ways To Die.

  • Fed up with playing Monopoly? Try ‘The Death Convo Game’ instead! 

  • Do You Fancy Living Eternally In The Metaverse On Your Own Planet?

  • Start up spotlights on Webacy and Chronicle.


Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Is Direct Cremation Disrupting The Legacy of Traditional Funerals in the UK Forever?

Transformational change is coming to the funeral industry in the UK, and fast.

Will other countries follow funeral trends disrupting the UK marketplace? Are they already? Will this pace of change increase as families choose personalisation over tradition? How could this impact you as a traditional funeral director or funeral home? Let’s dig a big deeper and see.

Funerals have changed little in centuries. The traditional format of black frock coats, black hearse, and funeral services matching the same format and even the same words (insert name here) from the Book of Common Prayer has seemed the only option.

But a secularised society saw the move away from churches and burials, to crematoriums and cremations. Yet for a time, the traditional funeral service stayed, but not so these days.

The times have changed forever. How, you might ask?

Back in 2015, Bryan Powell, a Funeral Director, and his wife Catherine, decided the funeral market was looking for something new, something that could suit the demand for personalisation and choice. Yes, price too was a factor. The increase in the cost of funerals in an unregulated industry was an issue for many families. So together they launched Pure Cremation with a plan to disrupt the industry. They certainly succeed. 

Synonymous with the word ‘vacuum’ is Hoover. We use the one for the other so much it’s become part of the vocabulary of life. In the UK today, it is the same with Pure Cremation and direct cremation. Let me explain. 

Direct cremation is, in the most part, an unattended cremation. This leaves the family of the loved one with perhaps the option to arrange a memorial service at a favourite woods, a beach, even the golf club where they spent so many happy hours.

Families in the UK are contacting funeral directors asking, ‘Do you do Pure Cremations?’ Mainly because of the multi-million advertising budgets Pure Cremation successfully spends in daytime TV and magazine advertising.

One national Independent Funeral Directors Association suggests many consumers do not think Independent Funeral Directors even conduct direct/unattended cremations, and 77% of customers don’t contact them to even ask! Going to online suppliers instead.

That’s worrying for lots of traditional funeral directors who may see future business disappearing online.

Around 1 in 5 funerals, choose direct cremation. Partly because of the pandemic, 2021 saw a dramatic increase in the choice of a direct cremation. ‘And among those who organised a funeral in the last 18 months (during the pandemic), 24% described the funeral as a direct cremation.’ (From Cost of dying Report 2022 - Sun Life)

They predicted the market for direct cremation to become a growing trend of UK's funeral choice. The ripples of that change will have significant impact for the industry changing it forever.

Of course, there will always be the demand for a traditional funeral. They can be a beautiful way to remember and celebrate the life of a loved one. But change, and that change digital, and online, is coming fast. 

This opens tremendous opportunities for those in the end-of-life marketplace who can adapt and change.

Hold on… change is coming - fast! But how does your end-of-life business need to respond?


Startup Spotlights

Webacy - helps you protect your crypto assets and social media accounts.

It’s a similar story and a familiar journey for many entrepreneurs facing personal loss. Maika Isogawa, founder and CEO of Webacy, looked for a better solution to the challenges he experienced when a member of his family passed away. Facing the complexity of digital legacy planning with multiple social media accounts and crypto assets, Webacy simplifies the process. 

What does Webacy offer?

  • Deletion of your social media accounts on death. (If that is your choice.)

  • Memorialising your accounts, even posting time sequenced content online after your death.

  • Transferring crypto assets to those nominated. 

  • Creating a ‘Shoebox’ - a place to store your memories (photos and videos) and thoughts for your generations who follow. 

  • DeathNotify™ - the simplest and most straightforward way to notify a death.

Chronicle - Digital Cemetery Management Software

Thanks to the team at Chronicle for introducing me to their new software for cemetery management.

Unaware of the challenges as most cemeteries still keep paper records of the location of burial plots within a graveyard, Chronicle not only brings organisation and speed to finding a loved one’s resting place, but gives an online presence to engage widely with society. Founder and CEO Matthew Borowski started the company after finding it very difficult to locate the grave of a friend. 

Cemeteries are the historical background of communities. I’m often quoting Margaret Atwood’s words - ‘In the end, we'll all become stories.’ Now Chronicle offers a way for those stories to be told. Here’s an example of how it works. 

Visit Beechworth Cemetery in Australia and you can find a plaque remembering Jacob Hoffmann. You would know little of the story of his life from the words and numbers on his tombstone. But what a story his life tells! At 17 in 1864, Jacob left Germany and travelled to America and served in the American Army. Want to know what else happened? You can read it HERE. 

Thanks to Matthew and the team for letting me know about Chronicle. Best wishes and all success for your project!


Heard of a startup in digital life curation or #Deathtech?

Please let me know. Email info@deathgoesdigital.com


Sponsored Product or Service

Interested in sharing your new product or service with readers of The Art of Memorialising? (check here)

We highlight your product, service, or idea sponsoring an edition. We give you the space; you get to tell the world about what you are doing or have created.

You and your business can become part of the adventure now. Secure your month in 2022/23 now. 


MM’s (Memorialisation Morsels) 

5 meaty bites of news for YOU to stay ahead of the conversation on Digital Legacy, Digital Life Curation & all things #Deathtech.

1 - Uploading Your Memories to the Metaverse: Now your legacy can be eternal.

It is said they forget us after three generations! I don’t like to think about that - but it’s probably correct. Or is it? Ready to blast off into eternity with plans to be remembered forever? Read on. 

Lifestory is a metaverse project. With Lifestory, you can upload photos, videos, and written stories about your life. You can also choose to have your Lifestory shared with specific people or made public for the world to see. OK, that’s not so novel these days. But Lifestory is a first-of-its-kind project letting people tell their story in the metaverse with a collection of 5,555  unique NFT planets where you can document their memories in the Lifeverse. Memories as stored as nonfungible tokens (NFTs). If that’s isn’t a bit confusing for most, hang on! You can land on these planets in a user’s spaceship! 

Confused? Intrigued? Read - Creating A Lasting Legacy With LifeStory (via Bitcoin.com) or watch the YouTube video for more details ready to blast off into eternity! 

2 - Are We Getting Used To The Idea The Dead Will Always Be With Us - Digitally?

Opening with the perfect quote by George Elliot - “Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them,” Alice Hinds writes an excellent article (via The Sunday Post) - More ghosts in the machines as legacy pixels create digital life after death. The insightful and in-depth piece considers many ethical and moral questions about the impact on grief, bereavement and dealing with the loss of a loved one in a digital age. She highlights Elaine Kasket’s book, and also a new fiction novel by Sophie Cameron - Our Sister Again. With advancements in how we can ‘feel’ in AI, some developments could be beyond even our current imagination. Well worth the read. 

3 - Interested in playing The Death Convo Game - Let’s Talk About Death?

Labelled as Asia’s 1st Death Preparation App - Bereev users create a central plan in preparation of death whatever stage of their life. Bereev Founder and CEO, Izumi Inoue, said, ‘Bereev provides a pathway for the end-of-life journey, and takes the stress away from those who need to pick up the pieces after we’ve left. When you’re grieving, it’s incredibly difficult to make major decisions, so we’re removing that burden.’ In May, Bereev launched The Death Convo Game. (via CNET.com) A world-first death conversation game to unlock the unspoken questions about dying. For 45 days starting in May 2022 - they offered the world the chance to talk about death, though answering 45 questions. 1000s are taking part. It will be interesting to see if they publish the answers. 

4 - What Are The 10 Best Ways To Die? (According to a hospice staff)

In a viral post doing the rounds in May, the care staff at Keech Hospice Care, an adult and children’s hospice in Luton, UK, racked up over 30,000 views across social media. A few years ago, a palliative nurse, Bronnie Ware, became a best-selling author with The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. (And no… bungee jumps were not one of them!) The post gives 10 practical and wise actions to take for those of us who one day will die. And that’s pretty much all of us, I think!

5 - Ditched By The Dragons in the Den - Scotland’s Biscuit Tin Digital Legacy Plan Gains A New Powerful Partnership With The Scottish Building Society

The Scottish Building Society has launched a new partnership with a digital legacy vault and planning tool, Biscuit Tin. (via Scottishbusinessnews.net) They will offer it free to its members for the first three months after they sign up. Watching the developments at GoodTrust, one of the major players in the #digitallegacy market building strategic partnerships for onboarding clients, it seems Sheila Hogan of Biscuit Tin is doing the same - despite the snub from the Dragons. Congratulations Shelia! 


Who do you know who would find this information interesting?

Please, can you forward the email to them? I’d be very grateful. 

Let’s start a conversation. Email me now at info@deathgoesdigital.com

Until next month, keep safe, and keep going. 

Pete