February 2024

Page A10 february 2024 Order Direct at 1-800-782-8249 Free UPS Ground Shipping www.mccordcasketsandvaults.com In the dynamic world of business, where competition is fierce and markets are constantly evolving, one key factor stands out as a beacon of success: a well-defined brand and identity. The Oracle of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett, has often emphasized the importance of a strong brand and unwavering commitment to core values. Drawing inspiration from Buffett’s timeless wisdom, alongside insights from Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, let’s explore how defining your brand and identity can propel your business to new heights. The Buffett Wisdom: Building a Timeless Brand Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, once said, “Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.” This statement encapsulates the essence of what it means to define your brand – it’s not just about having a logo or a catchy tagline; it’s about delivering something extraordinary to your customers. The Buffett Touch: Regardless of Industry Warren Buffett, renowned for his investment acumen and business insights, often emphasizes the intrinsic value that businesses should provide. One of his notable quotes, “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield,” encourages a forward-looking approach. This philosophy aligns with the idea of building a brand based on core values and a clear identity, rather than constantly reacting to the moves of competitors. Crafting a Empathetic Identity: Your Differentiator Your commitment to compassion, empathy, and personalized “memories” will set you apart in your community. And, your commitment to authentic empathy will spread like wildfire. It’s less about flashy marketing gimmicks but about understanding the emotional needs of the customers and providing full support to THEIR needs. By Jon O’Hara, CEO, Great Lakes Partnership Understanding Brand and Identity: A Comprehensive Approach Crafting a comprehensive identity that permeates every aspect of your business, from the products or services you offer to the way you interact with customers. In a Forbes article titled “The Power of a Strong Brand in a Competitive Market,” the author emphasizes the need for consistency. A strong brand maintains its identity across various touchpoints, creating a cohesive and memorable experience for customers. This consistency builds trust and loyalty, key factors in sustaining and growing a business. Building an Identity: Lessons from Successful Brands One prime example of a company that excelled by staying true to its identity is Apple Inc. Under the leadership of Steve Jobs, Apple became synonymous with innovation, design excellence, and a commitment to user experience. Apple did not constantly shift its focus to match competitors. Instead, it charted its course based on a clear vision of providing cutting-edge technology that seamlessly integrates with users’ lives. Forbes, in an article titled “What Every Company Can Learn from Apple About Branding,” highlights Apple’s success as a result of its unwavering commitment to a distinctive brand identity. The company not only defined its products but also revolutionized entire industries, from personal computing to music and smartphones. The Buffett Way: Emphasizing Value Over Competition Warren Buffett has consistently advocated for businesses to focus on intrinsic value rather than getting caught up in the competition. He once said, “In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable ‘moats.’” The moat, in this context, represents a sustainable competitive advantage that protects a business from rivals. In a Wall Street Journal article titled “Warren Buffett’s ‘Moat’ Commentaries,” the author explains that Buffett often invests in companies with strong brand identities and a competitive edge that goes beyond pricing wars. This emphasizes the importance of building a brand that stands on its own merits, independent of what competitors are doing. Critical Thinking: The Evolution of the Funeral Profession The Moat Analogy: Nurturing Your Business’s Defensibility A business’s moat can be its brand, reputation, customer loyalty, or innovative capabilities. These intangible assets create a barrier that shields the company from the ebbs and flows of competition. By defining your brand and emphasizing the value you provide to customers, you’re essentially digging a deeper moat around your business. Consider brands like Coca-Cola, a company Buffett has invested in for decades. The Coca-Cola brand is not just a logo; it’s a symbol of refreshment, happiness, and a timeless taste. This brand identity has become a formidable moat, protecting Coca-Cola from countless competitors over the years. Emphasizing Long-Term Value: A Buffett Principle Warren Buffett’s approach to investing is rooted in the long term. Similarly, when defining your brand and identity, it’s essential to focus on long-term value rather than short-term gains. Buffett once stated, “The stock market is designed to transfer money from the active to the patient.” This principle applies to business as well – sustainable success comes from patient, consistent efforts to deliver value.” In conclusion, defining your brand and identity in business is not just a branding exercise; it’s a strategic imperative. By drawing inspiration from Warren Buffett’s timeless wisdom, alongside insights from Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, businesses can craft a distinctive identity that stands the test of time. Look to successful brands that have excelled not by obsessing over the competition but by committing to the unwavering delivery of value to their customers By doing so, funeral homes can establish themselves not just as service providers but as pillars of support during the most challenging times in people’s lives. FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS www.NomisPublications.com Monthly Columnsonline at Jon O’Hara is a forward thinking funeral director & CEO of the Great Lakes Family of Companies. Jon is a first generation funeral director and in addition to working as a funeral director, he has also worked for Aurora Casket Company, Tributes.com, and The Outlook Group. He founded Great Lakes Partnership in 2018, which has grown from solely a pre-need marketing organization to a strategic consulting partner for funeral homes. He is also currently building his first funeral home location in Chesterfield Twp, MI. He lives in the Detroit area with his wife, Michelle, two sons, Henry and Teddy, and Labradoodles Sydney and Annie. Contact Jon O’Hara at 586-636-6611 or johara@greatlakespartnership.com. Defining Your Brand and Identity: The Buffett Approach to Business Excellence Park Lawn Completes Divestiture of Certain Legacy Assets TORONTO, ONTARIO— Park Lawn Corporation (TSX: PLC, PLC.U) announced that it has successfully completed the previously announced divestiture of certain legacy assets including all the assets of The Park Lawn Cemetery Company (USA), Inc., PLC Saber Ltd. and PLC Citadel Ltd. to Everstory Acquisition Portfolio, LLC, an affiliate of Everstory Partners. The divestiture includes 72 cemeteries in Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina and 11 funeral homes in Kentucky and North Carolina. “The completion of this divestiture marks an important milestone in the execution of Park Lawn’s long-term strategy,” said J. Bradley Green, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Green further stated, “Park Lawn has now refined its portfolio and, moving forward, is well positioned to focus solely on its core business strategy while also improving our leverage and liquidity position. We thank each of the employees of these 83 businesses for their hard work and dedication to Park Lawn and wish them well under their new ownership.” Fourth Quarter 2023 Dividend Park Lawn also announced that the quarterly dividend of $0.114 per share will be payable on January 15, 2024 to shareholders of record as at December 29, 2023. PLC provides goods and services associated with the disposition and memorialization of human remains. PLC and its subsidiaries own and operate businesses including cemeteries, crematoria, funeral homes, chapels, planning offices and a transfer service. PLC operates in three Canadian provinces and nineteen U.S. states. 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