Question :
LifeStone NZAfter 3 years in development a we have crafted a 100% kiwi stone approved for use in public and private cemeteries for Headstones, Plaques and Memorials. A big deal when 97% of headstones are imported creating an enormous carbon footprint. We have also harnessed and created tech so limitless photos, videos, music and written reflections can be accessed directly from the headstone, plaque or memorial. And generated some 2000 followers on FB over covid, through a couple boosted posts. But our conversion is terrible, and our energy is at its lowest. Its almost like creating this solution to a known and personal need was the gate. Capitalising as a business is the hard part that we are not getting right.We are a social enterprise, but we are still an enterprise that could change the world. If we had a bit of help.. Please help if you can. 

Question submitted 30/09/20 @ 08:36pm
Industry: Business Growth
  • Hi LifestoneNZ.
    Looks like a lot of thought has gone into getting your products to where they are today, so that’s a massive shout out to you. For me, I think a consumer awareness piece is important, but I also think you need reach into the many funeral director business to grow awareness of your unique (and NZ product) so that there is both a consumer “pull” and a supplier (or agent/intermediary) “push”… From my own experience, their recommendations or products they showcase (and list of suppliers) basically dictate what to purchase… I’d suggest reaching out to a couple of the larger firms to discuss options and how they would recommend you growing in this market eg Davis Funerals in Auckland etc, attend industry association meetings/gatherings/conference to grow awareness (NZ/AU conference held every 5 years)… There are also a number of headstone companies that may wish to broaden their offering too, even if not made by them eg Parkinson & Bouskill (happy to connect you with the MD).
    I’d also think about how you can take what you have done and also apply it easily into close adjacencies, for example city council information display integrating multi media and tech (audio, QR code … as done with the Nepia pou), some classic examples could be the heritage trails in Auckland with sites of historical significance, or historic places etc… Worth talking to a couple about what could be…
    Good luck and keep the energy up!

    Great answer from Jonathan! I would endorse everything he has suggested and add that there is a nice PR angle here that you could seek coverage in publications and media channels that target older consumers, such as The AA Magazine, local newspapers, etc. You are offering a topical and on trend product for people who want to buy local and reduce their footprint. PR will allow you to tell your story in more detail.

    Good luck – it’s a marathon!

    Kia ora! Agree with all the above advice I would definitely try and direct market into councils as Jonathan suggests, the stones could be used on walks and trails, council buildings and landmarks etc

    Also as Vicky notes telling your story with targeted media which could include environmental titles as well as those targeted at an older market, would help generate interest. Please let me know if you would like some tips on how to approach.

    I would also consider direct marketing into Māori and Pasifika communities, as headstones or kohatu are very important culturally. Tipene Funerals could be a good business to approach in this area, but you could also try to make direct approaches into iwi and hapū. However this would need to be done carefully. What area are you in? Perhaps you could start to build a relationship with your local iwi? Your story I’m sure would resonate. Good luck and please get in touch if you need more help / tips

    @jonathan-cameron @vicky-taylor @mihiblake thank you for your wise advice.

    @jonathan-cameron we definitely see our selves as an offering through the existing system an intro to P&B would be great! While exploring new channels along @mihiblake the lines of working with Haapu and Iwi through what we call our “hyper-local” manufacturing. While we are returning Headstone manufacture to NZ, I think we could go hyper-local, and create small manufacture hubs, train and provide our secret sauce and create jobs in our regions. To do that we do need to establish our footprint & the base that funds the more socially driven outcomes.

    @vicky-taylor thank you PR and awareness is critical for us, I like the idea of those approaches, we will see if we can get any traction.

    We will pursue each of those three areas of input.

    Nga mihi mahana.


    Morena – send me an email to jonathan.cameron@elevatecp.co.nz and I’ll connect you to P&B.

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