AVBOB Memories is a powerful new platform for remembrance, re-connection and celebration

By Partnered Content Time of article published Jul 15, 2020

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For over 100 years, AVBOB has been present at that most final of life’s rituals. We witness first-hand the pain of loss and the persistence of longing as our customers struggle to process the parting of a loved one. This has sensitised us to their need for remembrance, celebration and closure. 

Informed by this need, we’ve introduced inspiring and innovative offerings to our AVBOB family – such as the AVBOB Poetry Project, where grieving South Africans may go for comfort and consolation, with access to a free online library of over 10 000 poems in all 11 of our mother tongues. We brought Aquamation – water-based cremation – to South Africa, with its promise of a gentle, kinder last rite. And now we are making the AVBOB Memories multi-channel platform available to our funeral customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, often painfully, of the importance of remembrance and reconnection in our lives. With funerals limited to immediate family and no more than 50 attendees, and with families spread around the globe and separated by travel restrictions, we have felt most keenly the profound need to re-consecrate our rituals, and to find new ways to honour those who have left us. AVBOB Memories provides a remarkable remedy, enabling us to reconnect through an online event that mirrors those real-world rituals so deeply entrenched in our cultures and in our hearts.

Through an interactive and intuitive online platform, AVBOB Funeral Service customers – whether they have a policy or not – may now produce their own video memorial, in celebration of the life of their loved one. The user-friendly platform allows a central coordinator to build a powerful tribute to the departed, making use of images, messages, music, memes, memories and mementos. They are encouraged to invite contributors onto the platform to share their fondest recollections of the departed. The idea is to expand the circle of contributors to all those whose lives were touched by the deceased. 

To get started, the person coordinating the funeral arrangements will receive an SMS invitation from AVBOB, containing a personalised web application link, to register on the platform. Once registered, the coordinator can then choose to build the memorial keepsake via the online platform or by downloading the ‘Memories by AVBOB’ app from the Apple or Android app stores. 

The coordinator is then able to select from, curate and upload the many contributions – they may be poems or prayers, anecdotes or diary entries, photographs from the past, or whimsical tales from the present. The end result is a deeply personal digital memorial – a truly composite tribute to the person lost, created and curated by those who knew and loved them best.

What differentiates the platform dramatically is that family and friends can access it online or by dialling a personalised USSD service. In the spirit of inclusivity that informs all our products and services, we wanted to ensure that even those without access to data could still make use of this celebratory service.

Setting up the memorial has also been designed as a seamless process in just six simple steps. This includes selecting a theme, identifying life-stage categories through which to organise the content, and adding a biography of the beloved. And if the coordinator or contributors are at a loss for words and want to enrich the video with verse, they’re free to use any of the poems in the AVBOB Poetry library (www.avbobpoetry.co.za), which covers the themes of love, death, birth and hope.
 
Through the platform, the time, date and venue of the funeral can then be shared with all the contributors, and once the video memorial is complete, the coordinator can download the video and distribute it – either as part of the funeral programme, as a social media share, or as a perpetual keepsake, to be cherished and revisited whenever they seek solace.

The digital service allows controlled access, curated participation, and detailed customisation. But, more importantly, it provides a living, loving record of the life lost. In the words of the poet Guy de Maupassant: “Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.” 

AVBOB Memories is our way of giving back to those who are grieving, at a time in their lives that is marked by loss and longing. For all at AVBOB, it’s a demonstration of our brand promise, to be there for our people, to address their changing needs, and to offer hope and healing through the darkest of days. The AVBOB Memories platform was purposefully created to provide a bridge to memory and to remind us of what matters most in life.

For more details on this powerful platform, please visit: www.avbob.co.za/Product/FuneralService

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