St. Croix Casinos launch new brand at Nov. 1 party

Staff reports
11/29/10

DANBURY, Wis. – Nov. 1 was a night of red carpets, music, food and drink – and celebration – for the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. The St. Croix Casinos celebrated the launch of its new brand at a special party in the Event Center at St. Croix Casino Turtle Lake. Party attendees included tribal members, casino guests and employees and members of the media.

After a social hour featuring cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, Aimee Juan, director of marketing at Turtle Lake, began a short program by explaining the history of the development of the new brand. “This project actually began as a vision of Councilman Elmer Jay Emery nearly 10 years ago. Jay recognized the power of streamlining all three casinos together on all levels and began placing the stones then to build our new way of doing business here at St. Croix. I’m glad Mr. Emery is here tonight to see the branding of all three casinos come to fruition. Thank you, Jay, for always being the visionary, for always looking for ways to move the tribe forward.”

Why was the rebranding effort necessary? “A little over two years ago, it became clear that we needed to do something to strengthen our identity in the marketplace,” Juan said. “The St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin owned and operated three casinos – St. Croix Casino in Turtle Lake, Hole in the Wall Casino in Danbury and Little Turtle Hertel Express in Hertel. But the general public, even many of our regular casino guests, had little idea that the three casinos were related in any way.

“We needed to change the public perception about the St. Croix tribe’s gaming operations. As a first step in that direction, the three casinos adopted the tagline, ‘Three casinos. One winning combination.’ But that was just the beginning of the task at hand.

“We hired an award-winning marketing agency, the Red Circle Agency out of Minneapolis, to help us find our common ground across all three properties. We researched what our new look should be like. We even considered doing away with the turtle mascot that has been our brand identifier since day one. We consulted the tribal council. After months of hard work by a lot of talented and dedicated people and hundreds of revisions, we arrived at a consensus.

 
St. Croix Casino Danbury General Manager Martin Songetay, and St. Croix Casino Turtle Lake General Manager LeRoy Buck

“We decided to unite all of our casinos under one umbrella and one common name, St. Croix Casinos. As of today, St. Croix Casino Turtle Lake, St. Croix Casino Danbury and St. Croix Casino Hertel Express have brand-new logos, all of which incorporate the St. Croix turtle.”

Juan added that each casino will continue to have its own identity. Each will continue to offer promotions and special events geared toward its specific guest base. But all three casinos will work together under one brand, a brand which signifies that the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin are the owners and operators of all three casinos.

Juan then introduced the three tribal council members in attendance at the party – Tribal Chairman Lewis Taylor, Jay Emery and Jeanne Awonohopay.

Taylor stressed the importance of unified branding for the three St. Croix Casinos. “This new brand makes our efforts much stronger and gives us a far greater opportunity to be successful as a tribe.”

Emery thanked the general managers of the three casinos for their willingness to embrace the rebranding effort. He also thanked the casino VIP guests in attendance for their ongoing support and loyalty. Finally, he recognized the efforts of the casino employees. “Thank you for all your hard work. You make us a success.”

The general managers of the three casinos, LeRoy Buck of St. Croix Casino Turtle Lake, Martin Songetay of St. Croix Casino Danbury and Debra Reynolds of St. Croix Casino Hertel Express, offered brief remarks.

Buck best summed up the significance of the rebranding effort. He recalled a quote that he had recently heard: “Alone we can do great things. Together we can do amazing things.” He urged all of the casino operations to continue to work together to accomplish amazing things for the St. Croix tribe.

Mary Kay Merrill, director of marketing for St. Croix Casino Danbury, expressed her excitement over the new brand. “Thanks to this new brand, we will be a stronger organization. Thank you to the team at Turtle Lake for putting on this great event tonight to celebrate.”

Jennifer Bearhart, marketing manager at St. Croix Casino Hertel, echoed Merrill’s sentiments as she thanked everyone involved with the brand launch for their help.

Chad Germann of Red Circle Agency offered a short presentation on the application of the new brand in the casinos’ advertising efforts. “Red Circle was entrusted with coming up with the concepts for the new brand, but it was the marketing team from the three casinos that had to take the ball and run with it, to put our concepts into practice. Congratulations to them for being able to do just that.”

Germann’s associate, Ben Schmidt, explained how research into the casinos’ individual strengths led to the tagline, “The Turtle Will Surprise You,” which will be used in the casinos’ advertising campaigns.

Finally, Germann demonstrated how the stylized outline of a turtle will be used in all of the casinos’ print advertising. “The turtle will serve to identify us, to differentiate us from all other casinos.”

Juan concluded the formal part of the evening by thanking original St. Croix Casino Director of Marketing Joseph Hunt for his guidance and expertise in the first years of the casino’s operation. She also recognized her staff for their hard work and dedication in making the rebranding effort a reality.

The evening ended with $3,000 worth of prize drawings. Throughout the evening, partygoers had the opportunity to have their pictures taken on the red carpet at the north end of the Event Center. Photos have been posted on the casinos’ Facebook page. Michael Paul & the Capone Allstars provided musical entertainment from 6 – 11 p.m.

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