At the core of our services is the principle of DIGNITY – the DIGNITY that we don’t just offer to the mortal remains of the departed in terms of the send-off ceremony, but also the DIGNITY we give to the family of the departed as we give them comfort that they provided a dignified service to their loved one and that although they can’t reverse the inevitability of death that cause so much excruciating pain to the loved ones, they know they have done what is humanly possible to lay their loved one to rest. Even when our clients make a claim, we ensure that the process maintains their DIGNITY as we don’t make them feel they’re desperate for an excellent service from us – we don’t make them feel we’re doing them a favour because it’s within their right to claim from us. This is SERVICE EXCELLENCE that the Black Athena group subscribes to.

This has been our defining characteristic since our humble launch as Black Athena Funerals in 2017 as part of the Black Athena group – which was built on a rich legacy of Black Athena Communications which was registered in 2006. We hope to register Black Athena Foundation soon as a not-for-profit company to drive corporate social investment programmes of the group since we’re often requested to intervene in preserving the DIGNITY of indigent families by helping them bury their loved ones even if they don’t have the necessary funding. The group’s mother brand, Black Athena, is highly empowering as it draws inspiration from such world-renowned distinguished Egyptologists as Cheik Anta Diop and Martin Bernal who have asserted Africa as the cradle of civilisation – the latter’s seminal book was aptly titled, Black Athena.

Tshepo Molobi – founder of the Black Athena group

There’s a lot the contemporary world – particularly the funeral services sector – have to learn from ancient Egypt. Top of the list is the art and science of mummification. Secondly, the artistry of coffin manufacturing with a life span that goes beyond centuries. Thirdly, geographical science of locating gravesites cognisance of the direction of the flow of underground water to prevent its contamination. Fourthly, the architecture of the gravesites that takes into consideration the scarcity of land. These are telling lessons from practices in Egypt considering the fact that the country is largely a desert area with minimal habitable land – and yet they are capable of providing dignified inurnment, interment and internment services to both the deceased and their remaining families.

So strategic alignment across the three subsidiary companies in the group isn’t just confined to the monolithic brand architecture we have adopted, but it touches the cross-fertilisation between the three subsidiaries as they synergise each other: our impeccable communications credentials afford us the knowledge and ability to communicate with respect and DIGNITY with our different stakeholders in the process of providing them with excellent services while at the same time our market segmentation competence enables us to mobilise our conscientiousness in providing corporate social investment (CSI) in interventions aimed at helping indigent families and the less fortunate.

To enhance our SERVICE EXCELLENCE, we plan to employ a CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM) system that can provide us with precise information about all our customer segments. This will help us develop appropriate TARGETING and POSITIONING statements. So, our funding proposal doesn’t only cover hardware tools of trade, but also CRM software package. The CRM package is key since our sales force are forever off-site so they need to have access to information at the click of their finger tips. 

This will also ensure we tap into the digital communication advancements that relies largely on virtual communications that include cloud storing. Yes, indeed a mobile technology is the way to go particularly in the context of measures put in place to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is about innovation which we are fully embracing as a group. 

Since we’re an emerging company, we can’t compete with the traditional establishment that has unlimited resources to flight many advertisements on both television and radio on daily basis. We’re also mindful of the fact that these exorbitant marketing costs are then carried by the clients. So, our approach is that we have adopted online media which is cost effective and cost efficient as we are building online communities of customers we can engage with affordably.

We are confident of our approach because research has indicated that in the past ten years the readership on mobile platforms has increased by 460% (from 45 minutes to 4 hours 12 minutes) and on desktop by 26; while the losers were TV which decreased by 24%, radio by 19% and magazines by 50%. 

So these make our services highly affordable to our customers.

COVID-19 Context

Live Streaming: In line with the COVID-19 safety protocols, we employ our digital platforms to live stream events so that no family member, relative, colleague or friend feels they were left out from paying their last respect to the deceased they dearly loved. These platforms include Facebook and Zoom that also automatically record the proceedings and the family of the deceased doesn’t have to employ a videographer (who would then incur extra post production costs in editing raw footage) as it used to be done previously.