Massey Bros. operate in a sector which is very conservative, yet they are industry leaders when it comes to product innovation. There are more than 600 funeral directors in Ireland but less than 100 are full-time directors which makes for a very fragmented industry and variable standards.
Massey Bros. also have the added complication, while being the largest and longest established, of having more than six competitors also operating legitimately under the ‘Massey’ name which confuses the public because members of the public think they are all one and the same! In addition to this confusion Massey Bros. itself also operated under two names, Massey Brothers and Patrick Massey, with loyal clients to both names separately, which also required careful management and name consolidation.
Massey Bros. needed to rebrand and reposition themselves, become more distinctive, different and memorable while effectively driving a wedge between them, the ‘5 star’ Massey Bros. and all other players.
The project required a brand audit together with re-evaluation of the whole brand proposition and competitive analysis. We regarded market research as an important part of the rebranding process to understand Massey Bros. client preferences, perspectives and purchasing influences. For the majority of people, unless extremely unfortunate, engaging a funeral directors services is not a frequent purchase experience which means understanding the reasons why people choose a particular funeral director are more difficult to discern.
Research was particularly challenging as all participants were very recently bereaved which obviously necessitated immense sensitivity for all concerned. We are extremely grateful to everyone who gave us their time and shared their views with us in very emotive circumstances. Their generosity gave us invaluable insights to the Massey Bros. brand which helped support the direction for the brand strategy moving forward.
Some of the insights that came out of the research was the strongly feminine aspect of the Massey Bros. brand underpinned by masculine strength. The brand is also seen to be very much a five star premium offering because of the level of attention to detail and individual tailoring to very specific client preferences. This along with other significant details learned had a strong influence on the brand model, brand strategy and brand design approach.
The project also required re-evaluation of brand values, developing the brand profile, name change and consolidation, a complete new identity and rollout on all brand collateral, new building signage and vehicle livery, new product development strategy and a proactive PR strategy, all of which, while ongoing has helped achieve much needed distinction. Congruency across all touch points internally and externally was, and still is critical.
Changes were also instigated to how the Massey Bros. people dress through the development of a signature brand colour, purple, and specially designed clothing accessories to create strong visual distinction from other funeral undertakers when seen by the public.
In response to a 45% increase in the number of people in Ireland who have no religious affiliation, Massey Bros. created The Haven, Ireland’s first dedicated civil and religious funeral venue which allows families to honour the life of their loved one in their own individual way, and enables overseas or housebound mourners to attend a funeral online.
The Haven was officially launched by the Lord Mayor of Dublin at an event to which stakeholders and community leaders were invited with specially designed invitations using the new brand identity. The event also marked the point at which the new ‘Massey Bros.’ brand was officially introduced, a very distinctive identity which sets it apart from other unrelated ‘Massey’ funeral companies. A press release and creative photography were issued and more than 15 national media interviews took place, during and following the event.