The KIP (Keeping It Personal) Awards for the best in personalization were created by ICCFA's Personalization Committee to recognize outstanding examples of personalization of services or products in the death care profession. Categories are:
- Innovative Personalized Product (suppliers-only category): Product that memorializes in a personal and meaningful way. The product may be physical or virtual and may include, but is not limited to, memorials, monuments, urns, art, printed material and web-based tributes.
- Most Personalized Service or Memorial: An outstanding example of a personalized funeral for a particular individual, or a very personalized memorial. Explain how your staff provided a particular family with a funeral service or memorialization that really told the story of their loved one’s life.
- Event: For the most personal and creative workshop, seminar or holiday event sponsored by your cemetery or funeral home. The event must include the participation of your clients and/or the general public. Such events may include, but aren’t limited to, themes that are educational, commemorative, charitable, celebratory, financial or psychological in nature.
- Best Practice/Personal Touch: A "best practice." Something that you do for every family, or every family in a certain situation (examples: when the deceased is a veteran, or a baby). Note: An event such as a Christmas program is NOT a best practice, it’s an event.
- Most Personalized Pet Service or Memorial: An outstanding example of a personalized funeral for a particular pet, or a very personalized memorial. Explain how your staff provided a particular family with a pet memorialization or tribute service that really told the story of their beloved pet’s life.
2015 KIP Award Winners
This year’s contest attracted 32 entries from the United States and Canada. Communications and marketing professionals from outside the cemetery and funeral service profession performed the judging.
Information on the winners is available on the ICCFA website at www.iccfa.com/kip. Applications for the 2016 KIP Awards will be available from ICCFA this spring. ICCFA congratulates the winners and all who entered the 2015 KIP Awards.
The winners are as follows:
MOST PERSONALIZED SERVICE OR MEMORIAL
First Place and Grand Prize Winner
SCI/Striffler-Hamby at Park Hill Cemetery: Personalization for a Young Fisherman’s Visitation • Columbus, Georgia
When a young man was killed in a car wreck, Striffler-Hamby at Parkhill created a unique display to showcase his love for fishing during the visitation. They asked the family to display the man’s favorite fishing rods, hats and tacklebox set around an old fishing boat. Since the man also had a love of Mountain Dew and skateboarding, there was also a tub of Mountain Dew and a picture gallery of him skateboarding next to his skateboard. The family was overwhelmed by the detail that went into the visitation display and the guests were impressed by the attention to detail.
BEST PRACTICE/PERSONAL TOUCH
Rose Hill Cemetery of Hagerstown Maryland: Cremation Memorial • Hagerstown, Maryland
Rose Hill Cemetery noticed a problem during some of their cremation burials. Many people chose to display their loved ones in the complimentary container, but were displeased with the way the container looked. Some people requested the plastic urn to be removed from the ceremony table. Since the cremains were being buried, purchasing a more decorative urn was not a reasonable option. Rose Hill responded to this by creating a memorial urn cover made of cherry wood that is offered at no cost to the families. The urn cover comes with a glass votive that can be personalized for the family to keep, as well as additional votives available for purchase. Since offering this option, every family has used the urn cover and has been delighted with the results.
Cook Funeral and Cremation Services (Cook Family Services): A Holiday Remembrance • Grandville, Michigan
The Cook Funeral Home family and staff understand how difficult the holidays can be after losing a loved one. During the holidays, they provide complimentary keepsake ornaments for families who have lost someone over the course of the year. An invitation is send out inviting families in. When the families go to pick up their ornament, Cook Funeral Home offers cookies and coffee along with love and attention as the families choose their ornament.
Catholic Cemeteries Archdiocese of Newark: Birdhouse Event • Newark, New Jersey
What began as an effort to educate students in the value of cemeteries, Catholic Cemeteries created a birdhouse building program. The students assemble these birdhouses during the summer work program and share stories about people close to them that have passed on. They are allowed to personalize their birdhouse in memory of their loved ones and the Catholic Cemeteries provides a small plaque for these houses. Later, the students and their families will return to see their birdhouses being occupied by local wildlife and enjoy the natural beauty of the cemetery. The media coverage surrounding the event has brought new visitors to see the birdhouses, as well as people who are interested in sponsoring them.
Cook Funeral and Cremation Services (Cook Family Services): Widows and Widowers Picnic • Grandville, Michigan
The family and staff of Cook Funeral Home and Cremation Services are committed to helping individuals in the community who have lost their loved ones. They host many social events during the year to give these individuals an opportunity to come out and socialize with others who have lost loved ones.
An example of these events is the Widows and Widowers Picnic. Men and women who have lost their partners are invited to bring a friend or guest to an outdoor event. Music and food are offered to create an uplifting and welcoming atmosphere for the attendees to make connections with others in the community as well as preneed staff. The guests leave with a gift bag, cookie trays and most of all, new friends.
INNOVATIVE/PERSONALIZED PRODUCT (SUPPLIERS)
Cemetery360: Virtual Reality Experience • Sacramento, California
Cemetery360 offers a unique way for consumers to engage with cemetery properties if they are not on the premises. Their Virtual Reality experience gives them a personalized experience using any type of smartphone placed in virtual reality goggles. Users are immersed in the cemetery environment, allowing them to navigate the cemetery as if they were physically there.
Answering Service for Directors: Web Chat Connect • Media, Pennsylvania
ASD developed their Web Chat ConnectTM to help connect families and funeral directors. It offers a way for people to communicate in a way that makes them feel less overwhelmed and not pressured to make a decision in a real time atmosphere. Funeral directors are involved via a 3-way chat system so that they can offer immediate assistance and provide a higher level of service to their customers.
Frazer Consultants: Tribute e-Guest • Middleton, Wisconsin
Tribute eGuest is the first stylus-based digital registry for the funeral profession. Funeral guests are able to handwrite their information on a tablet. Afterwards, the handwritten data is collected and converted to a digital form so that the information can be used for thank you cards and address labels. The list of guests can also be placed in a photo keepsake book that can be personalized with photos of the deceased as well as condolences received from the funeral home’s website.
FrontRunner Professional: Simpler Times • Kingston, Ontario, Canada
FrontRunner Professional is the exclusive distributor of the Simpler Times program. Simpler Times is a simple, practical way for consumers interested in cremation to organize and arrange funeral services on their own without the pressure of up-selling. The arrangements made are registered with a provider and are full transferable to other Simpler Times providers.
MOST PERSONALIZED PET SERVICE OR MEMORIAL
Beyond the Rainbow Pet Hospice & Memorial Center: Honoring the Life and Service of Pepper • Fort Worth, Texas
When K-9 Officer Pepper of the Wise County Sheriff’s Department was shot and killed in the line of duty, Kate Branson of Beyond the Rainbow contacted the Sheriff’s Office to offer a line-of-duty funeral for the dog. Kate and Terry Branson worked closely with the department to provide a service that was just like services provided for human officers killed in the line of duty. An honor guard transported the remains of Pepper in a custom urn to the church service. More then 50 K-9 units joined the 800 fellow officers and friends from all over the United States to pay their respects to Pepper.
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