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“Your Story” feature on our Managing Director, Barry Floyd

 An insightful interview that delves into what drives the Golden Leaves Managing Director to take the brand ever forwards

This month the Funeral Service Times have interviewed Golden Leaves Managing Director, Barry Floyd, for their “Your Story” feature. We’ve taken the article here for you to read into Barry’s words that show a true passion for a brand he loves and believes in.  Please read on for his responses to the questions.

Can you tell me a little about the company?

Golden Leaves originally began life as a pre-need product sold by the South London based funeral business, Rowland Brothers back in 1984. Eventually, the plan evolved and developed into a brand in its own right in 1987. The company itself is probably one of the oldest plan brands in the UK, having been one of the first three sold nationally. Golden Leaves was created by funeral directors, it wasn’t constructed by an insurance group or a marketing company. In this respect it has built its foundations of knowledge from those serving the bereaved families of South London. The Founder and Chairmen are still both active funeral directors. We also have a sister company, Rowland Brothers International, which is one of the best known repatriation brands in the UK, if not in Europe. Golden Leaves has also been pivotal in the development of the sector, having been a founder member of both the FPA and the NAPFP.

What makes the products unique?

There are number of things that make Golden Leaves sizably different from other funeral planning companies. When we sell funeral plans we are contracted to provide or procure the service, therefore making us different from some of the newer entrants to the market. In regards to the products themselves, we have probably the widest product suite available to consumers within the UK.

We have six normal plans, which cover everything from direct cremation to a full tradition funeral with limousines and high quality coffins. They have been constructed to cater for generational choices, family sizes and also clients budgets.

We also have a fixed monthly payment product which means clients pay from the day they begin the plan until the day they pass away. It’s the only FMP funeral plan product in Europe that covers the purchaser fully after 12 months of payments. It is also the only product that provides a rebate repayment to the next of kin if the client has overpaid. This was created for two reasons; so that younger clients aren’t worried about paying too much into their plan, and so the more elderly customer is given swifter coverage. We also have a suite of environmentally kind “green” plans along with International repatriation plans. We have the widest the suite of plan type options.

How did you reach your current role?

I joined Golden Leaves in 2009 following a 24 year career in advertising and marketing. I was previously on the board of directors at an array of different Independent and global advertising and marketing companies. I arrived at Golden Leaves to develop the business and take it to the next level in terms of performance. The owners tasked me with building the company into an attractive, competitive, cutting edge and market leading brand.

The business was totally rebuilt from the ground upwards over the course of three years. Absolutely every facet of the business was analysed, modernised and relaunched. The brand was totally refocussed in terms of its strategy, products, price and sector positioning. The business developed from having a market share in a slow, non-competitive sector of under three percent to a market share of just over five percent in the most fiercely competitive period in the pre-need funeral plan sector’s history. For the last 6 years we have recorded significantly high annual double digit growth. Our flexible partnership style and industry leading products have made us an extremely attractive proposition for clients, funeral businesses and third party re-sellers alike. The sector really has had to sit up and take notice.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Watching such a fantastic business blossom and compete on a daily basis surrounded by a truly fantastic and dedicated team. That really is wonderful.

It really is beautiful to watch your brand succeed, especially when you know just how much work from the entire team has gone into making it a success. The amount of sheer will and dedication delivered by our staff is unbelievable. I am inspired by them every day. We have all bought into the Golden Leaves story, and all feel totally devoted to the cause.

But probably the greatest achievement for me is that we’ve taken this old and historic brand and modernised it thoroughly from tip to toe, without losing our core principles. We have managed to maintain our impeccable reputation and we are extremely proud of that. I think, for me, when I was brought into Golden Leaves, the owners invested an enormous amount of faith and trust in me. It isn’t an everyday occurrence for a risk adverse business to hand you its heart, a blank canvass and tell you to paint a completely new version in whatever way you passionately believe will work.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Being the Managing Director of the Golden Leaves Group is more than a full time job; consequently spare time really does comes at quite a premium.

But I am married with two children so I like love to spend time with them of course. I also go to the gym to relax and regularly spend time walking in the woods or on the South Downs with my five spaniels.

What does the future hold?

Hopefully, many years of continual, healthy and steady growth.

For us going forward it’s about delivering manageable and sustainable growth year on year. One of the reasons we have been successful is that we have been malleable as a business and the sector is and does change continually. Consumer behaviour has dramatically changed in the last few years, as have the distribution channels and many business models operating within the sector itself.

But we are a very dynamic business in terms of reacting to meet the demands of both the market and the consumer. We continually strategize and refocus the direction of the business to navigate change and take advantages of the voids and the sector opportunities it creates. We have a wonderful brand, fantastic products, a brilliant team and a passionate set of owners. Undoubtedly, that mixture can only lead to continued success and an exciting future for Golden Leaves.