Tikis at the Mortuary (or, ‘On Unexpected Assets’)

Happened to drive by the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale yesterday night, where I passed a billboard advertising their latest museum exhibit featuring both traditional and contemporary Polynesian artifacts.

Yes, the funeral home that pioneered the concept of open expanses over crowded headstones (and inters Walt Disney among many other late celebs) has led the way once again.  Into art and education.  The folks at Forest Lawn decided they weren’t just a place for the ending of life, they were in the business of celebrating life.  And, thanks to an eccentric founder, they had a massive art collection on hand.  Put the two together and you have an opportunity to extend a relationship with people into a positive realm and create entirely new occasions for visiting the cemetery memorial park life-celebration place.  More power to them.

This is similar to the story of Arm & Hammer, who had the epiphany that they were in the odor removal business, not the boring baking ingredient trade.   They now make everything from deodorant to vacuum bags to cat litter.

Meta-brand green is having some of the same revelations.  It’s not just about saving trees and polar bears anymore.  It’s about saving money, solving security, creating jobs, etc.  The key to making these extensions stick is finding the unexpected assets already inside the soul of the brand, and reintroducing them to people in an entirely new way.  And not just traditional capital assets like solar panels or ground-source heat pumps — this is a matter of core values.  Long before I’m going to show up at your mortuary museum or consider your all-electric alternative vehicle, I’m going to need to see you differently than I did before; to see your values enhancing the image I see in myself.

Those assets are far cheaper than wind turbines, but a lot harder to construct.

© Ryan Cunningham 2008

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thoughts at the collision of business, brand and creativity

I'm Ryan Cunningham. I help companies and culture play nice with each other. At CREATURE we call this Brand Strategy, a term that carries a nice halo of reliability and structure. Here, I'm just another guy who thinks about the world and writes it down from time to time.

The result is a pile of knowledge to be used in, and for, the future. Feel free to sift through the heap for useful connections.

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