Interested in PDX Death Cafe’s, workshops on end of life, volunteer opportunities and much more?
Article By: Cory Edwards
There’s real power in a story. So much in fact that a fantastic account, fact or fiction, often dictates the news cycle—regardless if it’s newsworthy or not. Several weeks ago I was reminded of this fact while listening to a Freakonomics podcast. They reminded me of a news story that broke back in February about an 18 month old giraffe named Marius from the Copenhagen Zoo. Marius was euthanized and fed to the lions at the zoo because of his less than ideal genetic makeup. Do you remember hearing about this?
My intent isn’t to provide a commentary on whether this was right or wrong. It was without a doubt a sad event. But the Freakononomics podcast reminded me that despite significant turmoil and escalating civil conflicts resulting in many human deaths worldwide, this is the story that captivated the nation, trumping most other news for an entire week. The New York Times, CNN, BBC, Time, and The Guardian among others may have given this story legs, but social media made those legs move. Social has given new life to storytellers, and its power is clearer than ever. For brands, captivating consumers with compelling, engaging stories that are relevant and meaningful is more important than ever.
What You Have to Say Matters
Why is it so important that brands learn to tell a good story? Well, for starters, consumers place more value on what their fellow consumers think than what brands have to say. That’s nothing new; we’ve known for years that customers trust one another more than company spokespersons, even the CEO. But here’s why it matters. When a brand can relate to its target audience on a higher level with something real—whether it’s a heartwarming tale, a unique experience, or simply a good laugh—customers listen. A great story evokes emotion, persuades, even compels. More importantly, people who have felt something while being lost in a good story want to share. If social media is the vehicle, your story can be carried away in an instant. What you have to say matters. Make it resonate and your message will captivate the crowd.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
By now, most of us have realized that our content is better received when complemented by pictures. Perhaps it’s because we are a visual learning society; as many as 85 percent of people describe themselves as such. Social media posts with images increase click-through rates considerably. On Facebook, for example, research has shown that the engagement rate doubles if a picture is added to a post rather than just a link. Think about your own posts to Facebook, do your photos do considerably better than just your thoughts or links shared? Mine sure do.
Content in long form benefits similarly: a blog post or article with images receives 94 percent more views than those without. It’s more than that, though, because today’s marketer has a unique opportunity to captivate, compel, and persuade through images. The popularity of platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, SnapChat, and other image-sharing platforms is only expected to increase, and the growth of video in just the past year is staggering. And let’s not forget the value of video in storytelling, a topic worthy of volumes of books on its own.
Here’s a for instance. A Thai cellphone company called True Move H produced a video entitled “Giving” that chronicles a powerful story of compassion, giving, and passing on good. The video’s story is unmistakable—a tearjerker for sure, leaving the viewer wanting to do good for others. To date, it has generated tens of millions of views across the world. It is a powerful story, but it is also on-brand for the firm that created it, which believes in the power of communication and connectedness.
The Social Business Is Storytelling
When we think about what it means to design a social business, we can’t ignore the role of storytelling in the process. More specifically, brands who engage their customers do more than describe their latest products or services. They tell the story of who they are, not only the people behind the brand, but also how their customers connect to their products in ways that give them the ability to do more. These are the stories that bring differentiators to life, that illustrate the why and how behind the what and where. The social business is storytelling. The faster we start revealing, the better off we’ll be.
The name caught your attention didn’t it? That is the point!
Death Cafe’s are a worldwide movement to talk about DEATH. Why would people do such a thing you ask? Well, despite death being a taboo topic in American culture, Death Cafe’s are popping up all over the US after launching in the UK in September 2011. As of today there have been almost 900 death cafe’s worldwide. What happens at Death Cafe’s?
There is no agenda, objectives or theme but rather a group directed discussion of death but not necessarily a grief support or counseling session. Death Cafe’s thrive on the following principles, which makes them a unique event that individuals find to be a safe and warm environment to have discussions about the very few certainties in life.
Death Cafe’s are offered on a not for profit basis, Iin an accessible, respectful and confidential space, with no intention of leading people to any conclusion, product or course of action, alongside refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!
Death Cafe’s in The News
- Death Cafe’s Breathe Life Into the Conversation about Dying via NPR
- Death Cafe’s Grow As Places To Discuss & Learn About End of Life via The Huffington Post
- Death Cafe’s – Talk About an Important Subject via Psychology Today
- Death Be Not Decaffeinated: Over Cup, Groups Face Taboo – via New York Times
Video about Death Cafe’s from Portlander Kate Brassington
BBC Interview with Jon Underwood, Death Cafe Founder
- Do you have empathy? This video brings the thought provoking question to the forefront. Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care
Show us the love….
Today is the Day….
Our first guide has launched and is ready to download or distribute to families throughout the Portland metro area!
Our launch happens to fall on National Health Care Decisions Day – a day to educate and advocate for people to make their medical wishes known.
Here are some wonderful events and valuable news worth sharing.
Next Week’s Events:
- Monday March 17th 3-5pm: Saying Goodbye: Life Transitions with Penny Carter at SPIN
- Tuesday March 18th 8am-12pm: Small business success demands efforts on many fronts, harness the power of LinkedIn at LinkedIn Live In Portland.
In the News:
- Congress Bill to change how funeral products can be sold. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4213
- Death Cafe in the Couv (Vancouver, WA): April 12th 1:30pm – 3:30pm
- What is a Death Cafe? Check out this YouTube video from friend Kate Brassington
Get Your Business Listed:
- March 21st is the deadline to get your business listed in our April directory. For details visit our sponsor page.
Pre-Order Our Directories:
- FREE directories will be distributed to hospitals, hospices, social workers, churches and to anyone who serves families before or after a death. Pre order a set to share them with the families you serve. Click here to request copies.
Have an Event to Share?:
- Send us the details through our event submission formand we will post them on our community calendar!
Join our new LinkedIn Group:
- Your invited to join an exceptional group of service providers that provide support to families before or after a death in Portland, Oregon. Login to LinkedIn and visit us here.
Today, we celebrate the 90th Birthday of my grandmother Ruthie!
I often think about what it would be like to talk with my Grandma like I did when I was a younger, but sadly she has severe dementia. It makes it hard to want to go visit her, despite the encouragement from family to do so. I feel like I was the closest to her of all her grandchildren, yet why can’t I get the courage to go visit her? It is so hard to try and pretend that everything is ok and have a normal conversation with her, she doesn’t make much sense. I am thankful for my husband Don who has made many of the trips with me to see her.
Many who are friends and family or have asked “How did you get into the death business?” know that it is because of my Grandmother. After my Grandfather passed away in 2008 we had several close calls with grandma, the kind where the entire family gathers round in the hospital and just hopes we get to keep grandma around just a little longer. Statistics show that the last survivor in a marriage as long as they had (60 years) end up dying shortly after their deceased spouse. It was after one of those close calls that I started to think about how we would honor my grandmothers life and what type of funeral we would have for her. It was time to start getting some of those things in order, so that when we are faced with the inevitable we can focus on what matters most, instead of having to spend time with all the details necessary for a funeral arrangements.
My grandfather had a beautiful ceremony, representing his involvement as an Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler, his love for fishing and the honor for his country as a US Navy Gunner (read an article about my Grandfather’s service during the bombing of Pearl Harbor here).
My grandmother was the housewife, the glue that kept the family together, the one that brought the laughter and entertainment to so many as a fabulous hostess. She raised 3 children, was quite the fashionista and so kindly knew the value of the words “Thank you” and even to this day, nurses have said she continually would say thank you for their help. Now I know why those words are so powerful to me.
I identify a lot with my grandmother, her humor, her love to entertain, to give back to the community and for the color red. Every time I go for an ole fashion hamburger and milkshake I think of the times we would go together to enjoy them. We could play a mean game of 21, even if she was giving me her jar of pennies to gamble with as a child. Oh how I wish I could play a few games with her now. If Grandma was younger I imagine us getting all dolled up, wearing matching red patent leather heals and hosting a fabulous holiday party together!
Grandma, I love you and wish you a wonderful and HAPPY 90th Birthday!
Departing Decisions Founder Angela Kienholz shares a personal reflection about the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
December 7, 2011 – It is 8pm here on the West Coast, and although most of today’s Pearl Harbor memorial events have already finished I still felt compelled to write a post about what happened 70 years ago today. This morning I watched a special on the Today Show sharing the story of the men who served our country and the day filled with memorial ceremonies. I started to think about my grandfather who died in June 2008, I remember his military funeral like it was yesterday.
Afterwards I decided to call my uncle to find out about my grandfather’s military service during World War II and where he was during the Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. It really is a story of close calls. My grandfather was on the USS Lexington, which had just left Pearl Harbor port the day prior on December 6th. The Lexington was on a mission with Task Force 12 to deliver U.S. Marine Corps warplanes to help reinforce the base at Midway Island. The Lexington was 400 nautical miles away from Pearl Harbor, and because of its close distance to the attacks, it could have easily been part of the days devastation. My grandfather along with the over 2,000 officers and men of the Lexington changed course and rushed back to Honolulu only to discover the severity of the aftermath. The crew of the Lexington served our country in the following days by cleaning up the rubble and bodies from the attack before heading out to sea for war. 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 were wounded that day. 1,177 alone died from from the sinking of the USS Arizona.
After the attacks, my grandfather had his second close call with tragedy. He had volunteered to rebuild one of the Navy’s gunnery schools that was destroyed during the attack of Pearl Harbor, which took him off the ship and onto land. Sadly, at age 19 my grandfather had to grieve the loss of many friends on the USS Lexington after it was struck and sunk by a torpedo on May 7th, 1942 during the Battle of The Coral Sea – including the man who took his place on deck. Many men survived the torpedo and battle, but over 300 men were trapped below deck on the Lexington after the explosions and could not be saved due to the horrific fires as it sank.
Today is a day of reflection for many, including me. What better way to honor my grandfather and all our veterans than to share this story!