Here's a great example of how a small local business branded itself and at the same time gave something of value to the community: a new dog park in Cascade Township with free admission that is cleverly designed to allow pets to exercise and socialize off-leash.
If you have any doubt whether the park has helped brand the lead donor, the results are literally written in stone. There's a boulder at the front of the 1-acre park with a bronze plaque bearing the words "Cascade Hospital for Animals." Bronze plaques are known to last more than 500 years, so that's billboard marketing at its best.
When you add the plaque, a sign stating park rules and a series of stories and blogs that mention the hospital's involvement, it turns out to be a reasonable, long-term return-on-investment for the $25,000 donation approved by Dr. Richard L. Siegle, hospital president and son of the hospital’s founder, Dr. Dick Siegle Sr.
The joint effort by the township and the hospital is the epitome of how philanthropy and branding can work together for a common good -- even for a small business. The hospital became the lead donor for the park as a way to promote health for dogs through exercise and socialization, as well as thank the Cascade community for its years of support. Proposed as an improvement to the Cascade Township Park two years ago, the dog park opened in May.
“A number of residents ranked having a dog park as high on their wish lists when the township was soliciting input on a new five-year plan for the park,” Dr. Siegle said. “It was a perfect match for us to support the project since promoting pet health is core to our mission.”
The project is a reminder that businesses, non-profits and governments need to keep aware of each other and look for opportunities to cooperate.
Here's a link for more information on the park, its amenities and tips on how to handle your dog in a park situation: Cascade Hospital for Animals Dog Park.