Brand Strategy and Design

Black Mesa

Transforming a competitive disadvantage into a powerful brand strength to grow a business.

The San Felipe Pueblo in New Mexico was one of the first Native American tribes in the state to open a casino. Based on its success, numerous other casinos soon followed that were bigger, fancier, and offered many additional services, like hotels, spas, golf courses, and more.  

To compete in what had become a much more crowded environment against far more heavily funded organizations, San Felipe Casino turned to VDLA to identify the brand equity strengths they did possess and unleash the full potential of their brand. Like most organizations, their brand was their most valuable asset, but it was not being leveraged as strongly as possible.

Through internal and external research, a competitive audit, and interviews with their management team, VDLA turned the casino’s size, location, services, and pueblo heritage into compelling brand advantages. We revealed their key rational and emotional drivers of brand choice: a more comfortable size, central location, friendly staff who get to know you by name, and a strong respect for the heritage and culture of the pueblo.

Based on these strategic insights, the San Felipe Casino, Travel Center, and RV Park were all rebranded under the master brand: Black Mesa. The branding acknowledges the historical and spiritual significance of the black mesa and the area around it to the people of the pueblo. The more intimate, welcoming environment that guests enjoy is captured in the tagline: Where Albuquerque and Santa Fe Meet®”.

What we did: A complete rebrand, including research, strategy, naming, logo, tagline, look & feel, guidelines, signage, and all collateral and launch materials.

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