Green Hills

How a punch in the gut led to strategic changes that more than doubled revenue in 5 years.

Client
Green Hills
Year

2017

Awards & Mentions
  • VR Inspire
  • Reality Awards
  • Best Promo
Deliverables
  • Advertisement
  • Photography
  • Strategy

The Short Story

Tom was fresh at the helm of an aging funeral center. Where others were satisfied with the status quo, Tom had big dreams to turn it into the Ritz Carlton of the industry.

For the next 3 years, Tom made incremental changes as the budget would allow. It was making a difference, but it soon became clear that he was going to have to do more. If only he had more leads coming in, he could accelerate the transformation.

That’s when he contacted Atlas Rose.
We listened to Tom’s challenges and were able to respond to his immediate needs. That built trust which led to us asking Tom if he was ready for an honest conversation. He agreed, but …

How do you tell a visionary he’s got longer to go than he thinks he does?
You just say it.

“Tom, your brand is stale. Your website is underperforming and stuck in the year 2000. Your place is more Motel 6 than Ritz Carlton. You need a full reset.”

It took a real professional like Tom to be able to hear such an honest (and brutal) assessment of their brand’s reality. Tom took the punch and then said, “Ok, what do you suggest?”Branden O’Neil with Atlas Rose explained,

“I’ll serve as your fractional CMO. My team and I will help guide you through a complete brand transformation where we will examine what makes you different, what customers value, and how you can change perceptions. We’ll meet weekly and make decisions that move you forward. My team will execute tactics while you and I provide the leadership. The first step is to build a 12-month strategy that serves as our roadmap.”

Tom said yes, so we got to work.

Five years later, COVID and all, Tom’s vision is a living reality.

Green Hills is not only the Ritz Carlton of funeral centers, but Tom and his team were also able to acquire another property, merge with a crematorium and then go on to launch two one-off businesses. It was a busy five years. Atlas Rose is proud and honored to be a continuing member of the Green Hills family.

The Path To Success

It all started with building a 12-month strategy.

The creation of Green Hills Brand Standard. This is where the team dug deep. They analyzed competitors, estimated their traffic, and pulled data. They looked at the messaging and what they were saying to customers. They built personas, which are fictional, but a real account of the ideal customer. Tom and his team already had an idea of who their customer was, but once they walked through the persona exercise, they uncover what pressures the customer feels, their emotional state, and triggers that would move them to action. 

This led to the creation of a new logo. The new logo was a in line with his vision as a modern, premier brand. Of course, the logo is just a small part of the overall brand and digital footprint. 

Over time, the company had different people create social media accounts and landing pages. Much of it was redundant, and out of date, containing wrong information. The result left potential customers confused and didn’t give them the comfort level they needed to make a burial decision. 

Now it was time to clean up the website and social media channels. It started with clarifying their message targeting their ideal customer, their persona. Once messaging was nailed down, it was time to unify the message through all digital platforms. The website was revamped.  Old accounts were deleted and streamlined.  The team created a content calendar to regularly post on-brand messages and fed the website with topical content people were looking for. 

New tools were added to the website. Tools like the ability to take a 360-degree virtual tour, a pre-planning guide, and a video that communicates the new Green Hills experience. 

One of the details that was uncovered during the persona exercise was when people are searching for a funeral home, they are in a grieving state and may not want to talk on the phone. For that reason, Atlas Rose added the ability to schedule appointments completely online. It didn’t require a ton of work, but it made a big difference to our customers.

The next step was to work on the customer experience. We brought sophistication to their operations so they could deliver a consistent customer experience, every time. Processes and automations now deliver timely and sensitive communications. The last thing Tom wanted was to complicate things for customers while they were dealing with grief. 

Then COVID hit. The state of California declared that there would be no gatherings – including memorial services for loved ones. As deaths from COVID and other natural causes mounted, family members were denied traditional grieving. 

We knew we had to do something. Not being able to say goodbye one final time was a cruel reality and unhealthy for mental health. That’s when they had an idea: Even though family members couldn’t enter the grounds, they could walk outside along the fence. 

Sometimes marketing is more than just about business.  The Green Ribbon campaign was born out of the idea of helping families grieve. Family members were given green ribbons to tie along the fence signifying the loss of a loved one. It was a beautiful gesture that sparked a movement (#greenribbonmovement) across the entire country. It all started at Green Hills Memorial and it’s one of the marketing team’s proudest accomplishments. 

The Green Ribbon campaign was so successful, it opened up doors to create another healing resource … the H2O Hope Campaign.

Noticing that suicides by young people were reaching unprecedented levels, Tom and Atlas Rose stepped up again creating the H2O Hope campaign. Its purpose is to introduce adolescents to the healing powers of water through sailing, paddleboarding, and surfing. Parents will be educated on how to spot a troubled youth and where to reach out for help. The campaign launched in the fall of 2021.

The Results

“By far the best team I’ve ever worked with. They truly understood the look I was going for and completely nailed it!”

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186

Percent increase in overall business

847

Products sold during the ad campaign

239

Raving reviews written since the launch

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