608.279.1324 chris@visuality.com

Nothing makes us prouder than seeing our clients and partners achieve big goals!

Last week, the Ho-Chunk Nation won approval of a new off-reservation casino in Beloit, WI, from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. Building and maintaining a strong, positive public image played an important role in this historic accomplishment.

Visuality is extremely proud to have play a role in that process.

Over the last several years, Visuality has assisted the Ho-Chunk Nation with their public relations, digital advocacy, and image-building efforts. With innovative media strategies and an aggressive approach, we were able to help the Nation make tremendous strides in strengthening their public image and publicly advocating for their Beloit development.

In this case study, we will outline some of the difficult challenges the Nation faced early on, some of the key building blocks of our media strategy, and the significant strides they made to get to where they are today!



The Ho-Chunk people are the aboriginal people of much of Wisconsin and its neighboring lands, and today they are among the Midwest’s more powerful tribal nations. However, until recently, the Ho-Chunk Nation did not enjoy a positive public profile or strong brand identity, a position that left them vulnerable to hostile forces in their local communities, state government, and the media across the state.

When Visuality first began our partnership with the Ho-Chunk Nation, the Nation’s image was taking a beating. Embroiled in a bitter compact dispute with the state of Wisconsin and taking frequent shots from the media and public officials, the Nation was on the defensive and lacked a coordinated plan of action to get back on an offensive footing. At the same time, the Nation was facing threats from competitors attempting to encroach on their aboriginal territory and jeopardize their economic interests.

The Nation desperately needed an aggressive action plan repair and rebuild their public image and put them in a better position to succeed in their dispute with the state and address those potential threats.



Visuality partnered with the Ho-Chunk Nation on a long-term image-building campaign to strengthen its brand and better position the Nation for success across a wide range of goals. At the same time, Visuality was asked to assist the Nation with bread-and-butter public relations activities, internal communications, and crisis communications.

Our immediate priorities were to:

  • Put a spotlight on the positive economic impact that the Nation and its businesses have on the local communities where their businesses are located and on the state writ large.
  • Stress the Nation’s aboriginal ties to Wisconsin generally and specifically to the local community where a potential casino battle was brewing.
  • Highlight the long tradition of service and sacrifice of the Ho-Chunk people.

Through vigorous public relations efforts, aggressive earned media, innovative sponsorships and partnerships, and targeted paid media, Visuality has helped the Ho-Chunk Nation dramatically improve its public image.

The core elements of that program included:

  • The Ho-Chunk Radio News: Under this innovative program, pre-packaged radio news stories were produced featuring positive “news” about the Nation. These included stories about local economic impacts, cultural events, community partnerships, and much more. These news packages ran regularly in every corner of the state, with increased frequency in key markets.

  • Unsung Heroes: This partnership program was established with one TV station in each of Wisconsin’s primary DMA’s, inviting people to nominate veterans or active-duty military personnel in their communities for recognition. The promos for the program highlighted the Ho-Chunk people’s tradition of military service, and the TV stations produced video vignettes each month recognizing the chosen honoree, which aired in prime news programming.

  • “Green” PSA’s: The Nation sponsored a series of “green” public service announcements educating people on how they could be more environmentally conscious and responsible in their day-to-day lives. These PSA’s ran on cable systems across the state, along with companion newspaper “advertorials”, and prominently featured language and imagery reflective of a Native aesthetic.

 Later, as new challenges arose and goals were reset, several other media elements were developed and implemented, including an aggressive social media plan, more direct-message advertising, and much more.



 In the short-term, our work with the Ho-Chunk Nation helped them make great strides on a number of key issues, including:

  • Neutralizing aggressive attacks by Wisconsin politicians over the Ho-Chunk Nation’s compact dispute with the State;
  • Dramatically improving the Ho-Chunk Nation’s approval ratings in key markets around Wisconsin; and
  • Radically changing the dynamics of efforts to place a Tribal casino in Beloit, WI.

In less than two years, the Ho-Chunk Nation took significant steps forward in terms of building its own public image, fending off competition from rival interests, and meeting the challenges from hostile political and media forces.

Later, those initial efforts to repair and strengthen the Nation’s public image—along with later efforts over the next several years—put the Nation on much stronger footing…ultimately supporting their successful efforts to win approval of their Beloit casino development!

Can we tell you more?

Contact us at chris@visuality.com, and we will be happy to speak with you about how our ideas and approach might help you achieve your goals!

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