memory catcher

An old friend of mine has started a business that I think is kind of wonderful and a fine example of a very niched business that’s only for particular people in a very particular point in their lives.

Basically, Memory Catcher creates video biographies of family members that can be watched by their families after their passing. And can be shared with family members that never met them.

Memory Catcher also creates professional, multi-purpose videos for personal autobiographies, and as tributes for special events such as milestone birthdays, retirement tributes, weddings, anniversary celebrations, businesses or organizations. As their tagline puts it, “Everyone has a story. It’s time to capture yours.”

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What is the name of your project?
Memory Catcher Video Biographies

What’s the response been so far?
The response has been great! Clients have been thrilled with the video biographies, as have all those who have viewed them. Feel free to view our “praise” page at www.memorycatcher.ca

People who have recorded their stories with Memory Catcher, and those who have seen these video tributes have been so excited. It’s meant a lot to them.

Cheryl Tomte from Grande Prairie, Alberta, fully appreciates the value of video biographies, now that she has one of her Grandmother.

“I love knowing that when I’m missing my Grandma I can put in the video biography Memory Catcher completed for our family, and remember her as I knew her,” says Tomte. “It’s amazing to hear my Grandma tell stories of her childhood, her adventures as a young adult and the history of our family. So many people go through life not knowing where they came from, or the stories of lost loved ones. I’m so glad my Grandma agreed to having this video biography completed.” Mark from Calgary concurs: “Seeing my grandmother on video after she was gone helped me work through my grief.”

When people see Memory Catcher’s video tributes, used in combination with eulogies at funerals of Celebrations of Life, the effect is tremendous.

When people are able to see their loved one, and hear them speak directly to them, particularly once they’re gone, it truly is a powerful thing. People really treasure being able to see a loved parent or sibling, and invariably say ‘I wish I had a video like this for…’ some other family member. The challenge is encouraging people to act today, and not realize the value of video biographies when all that is left are still photos.

These stories help to ensure that people are more than a name on your family tree. It will allow future generations to actually get to know you or your loved ones as a person.

Bill and Grace Knight of Edmonton saw how much their loved ones enjoyed hearing about their lives first hand, after they asked us to complete a “Love Story” video tribute of their lives together to be shown at their 20th anniversary vow renewal this past fall. Grace told us,

“We played the ‘Love Story’ for our 250 guests during our reception. People laughed, cried, and appreciated the intimate details of who we were when we met, and how we have grown in love and life. The praise and excitement from the guests, after viewing the story was incredible! They appreciated the intimacy of our life being shared with them in a unique way,”.

What’s the story of how this came about? What was the need you saw in the community that it emerged from?

We incorporated in November, 2010, after having begun as a sideline venture.

It began after I recorded my grandmother’s story. I was extremely close to my Grandmother, and finally convinced her to sit down with me, with a video camera running, and answer my questions about her life – where she grew up, the story of her parents, and her adventures as a young woman. Unfortunately, she passed away before we were able to cover all the territory I had hoped to, but it is such a treasure for my family and I to even have the bit of footage we have of her speaking. It was when I showed the video biography of her at her Celebration of Life, in combination with her eulogy, that the seeds of Memory Catcher were planted. After noting my family’s response to seeing the video tribute of her, I finally decided to bite the bullet and incorporate, instead of just thinking about it, which I had been doing for some time.

I had worked in the film industry previously, and later enrolled in additional training through a local technical institute and film program. I have been really fortunate to have built great relationships along the way, and have had excellent mentors. I also joined the Association of Personal Historians (www.personalhistorians.org), and recognize the importance of continual professional development and collaboration with colleagues.

Can you share a few examples of how your project works?

When you see a biography on A & E or the history channel, that’s what we do for regular people. Memory Catcher’s personal video and audio biographies combine live interviews with photo montages and music. We create professional videos for personal autobiographies, end of life celebrations, and as tributes for special events such as milestone birthdays, retirement tributes, and anniversary celebrations. Memory Catcher also produces corporate video biographies that celebrate the story of your successful business or organization.

We have done the “Love Story” video for a 20th anniversary vow renewal celebration, we helped a gentleman with terminal cancer record his own eulogy for his wake, as well as a message of love for his daughters. Other people use the videos as a way to celebrate their family, and connect to future generations.

Who do you find it’s working best for?

Our typical client is an adult son or daughter who hires us to spend time with an elderly parent or grandparent and record their story. It really is for anyone though who wants to celebrate their life, or the life of a loved one.

How did you promote this in the beginning? What were the top three most successful approaches at the start of it?

Word of mouth has been the biggest thing. Promotional postcards, and good old-fashioned networking are the other two best methods of promotion.

What are the top three most effective ways you’ve found to market this?

1. Word of mouth
2. Mail outs to target groups
3. Networking

Is there anything you do to make it easier or more compelling for people to spread the word?
 
I pay a referral fee for successful references (upon completion of a video biography project).  I also am sure to send out business cards and promotional postcards when I send anything by mail to family or friends so that they have my card, and can pass on my card if they know of anyone who may be interested. 
 
I have also included video biography packages at silent auctions where my target market will be in attendance to generate exposure.
 
Mail outs to target groups: what groups have you sent to? what’s the response been?
 
I have sent out to funeral homes, hospices, senior centres, senior activity centres, etc.  Also, when I see a story or article in the paper of someone who is featured, I sometimes will send them a short congratulatory note, along with my business card, telling them if they are ever interested in recording their story, to please contact me.  Success on mail outs has been mixed. 
 
Video biographies are a new concept for many people, and that has certainly been our biggest challenge as we try to grow Memory Catcher. As part of marketing our service, we are not only educating the public about what a video biography is, but trying to entice people to record their story now. Like many things in life, recording their family’s story is something many people put off, sometimes until it’s too late.
 
Networking: where do you network? any lessons here on what’s worked and what hasn’t for you? also – do you have a promo reel on youtube or something that i can share?
 
I am a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and also have attended several other networking groups and meet ups (such as BNI, JCI, the Advertising Club, etc. – I am not a member of these groups, but occasionally pay to attend their networking events).  I have yet to experience any sales as a direct result of the networking groups, but it is exposure in getting the word out there.  The biggest thing is telling anyone and everyone about Memory Catcher and how we can be of service to them and help them create a lasting legacy for their family.
 
I do have a few videos and demos up on You Tube.  My channel is memorycatcherinc.  One video which provides a good overview is my short “Introduction to Video Biographies” at: http://youtu.be/fp7kdKlI4cA

 

What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Never having worked in anything related to marketing before that has certianly been my largest challenge. I don’t know if there really have been 3 big lessons I’ve learned, but that has been my biggest struggle.

At it’s heart, what is this project/business really about for you? (beyond money, status and such).

It’s about preserving the most important conenctions there are – those of love and family. I love being able to help others tell their story, and expereince the theraputic benefits of knowing they’ve left a mark in this world. I love helping them celebrate their lives. And most of all, I love being able to help preserve that family connection, and love, for those left behind after someone passes. I started Memory Catcher becasue I expereinced the value of that first hand, and it is so rewarding to be able to help others experience the same living legacy our family has.

What’s the next level for your project? What are you most excited about that’s coming up?

I’m excited to help more people celebrate their lives and record their storeis as Memory Catcher continues to grow! I love how recording a life story brings families closer together and strenthens their bond, gives them a chance to reflect. I feel very blessed to be welcomed into people’s lives the way I am when I record their story. I connect with them in such a way that they feel like extended family to me by the time the project is complete.

If people want to find out more about your project, support it or get involved – what should they do?

Visit www.memorycatcher.ca

Anything else you’d like to add?

What date would be best for this post to come out on (if any). Normally it takes 1-3 months for a post to appear because I’ve already got so many schedule.

 

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

About Tad

  • Lovely and very heartfelt idea for families.