Brand building calls for a balance of creativity, consistency, and airtight logic. Everyone and everything needs to be on the same page. We deliver this because we keep our talent in-house – incredible designers, developers, strategists, and writers. It’s pretty special.

When Hug approached us, we knew they had something pretty special, too.

The company was still in its infancy. Vicky, the creator, wanted to shape a brand focused on providing a new kind of pet food: no-nonsense food that was ethical, high-quality, and genuinely good for dogs and cats.

Since then, we’ve carried out top-to-toe brand building for Hug: identity, design, voice, strategy, website and shop creation, content, and more.

Here’s a glimpse of how we brought this brilliant brand to life. 

The story behind Hug Pet Food… 

Vicky started Hug because she believes pets deserve better. 

Her journey began when she welcomed her first dog into the mix, Rudi Doodle. Wanting to feed him food that equalled that which she prepared for her family – fresh, unprocessed, ethically produced, locally sourced – she found no equivalent for dogs. Her answer? With help from a vet friend, she created her own homemade recipes for Rudi – recipes that supported him as nature intended.

Vicky the founder of Hug Pet Food

Like us, pets come with different needs and health concerns. Vicky wanted every cat and dog to have access to fresh, whole food diets, so she set about developing the only bone free food that could be served raw or cooked.

When Vicky approached us, Hug was yet to launch. She was beginning to expand her natural range to include cold pressed food, pet remedy kits, and pet care products, but she needed help building a brand that communicated the core components of Hug: species-appropriate nutrition; a commitment to only using premium, ethical ingredients; sustainability and environmental protection.

Brand building: design and copywriting

During our early conversations with Vicky, words such as ‘honesty’,‘ good’, and ‘no-nonsense’ kept coming up. This led us to the name Hug, which stands for honest, uncompromised goodness – literally.

These same qualities formed our inspiration when shaping Hug’s visual identity and tone of voice. As we know, brand colours matter a great deal. For Hug’s logo and colour palette, we chose vibrant orange, an active yet friendly colour, as the primary shade; this was complemented by secondary shades in earth tones, selected to reflect the ethical and environmental values driving Hug.

The logo was designed to embody the roundness and softness of an actual hug; we replicated this in everything from the pattern on Hug boxes to the playful renderings of cats and dogs on the website, packaging, and in print.

We also mirrored Hug’s inclusive spirit in their photography. To emphasise the individuality of each dog and cat, we chose to shoot close-up headshots, with the pet staring directly into the camera. This allowed us to show each pet’s personality while highlighting Hug’s deviation from the ‘one size fits all’ approach.

We wanted to hone an authentic voice that articulated the personality and ethos powering Hug. To do this, we started at the source: the people behind the product.

Vicky and her team are warm, funny, straight-shooting, animal-loving, and ultra-informed. Boasting a wealth of experience in animal nutrition and care, they’re united by their advocacy of natural, species-appropriate food for pets. Disillusioned with the pet food industry, they want to arm owners with clear, science-led information – no dubious ingredients lists or empty claims.

These characteristics and values form the bedrock of Hug’s pared-back, genial tone. From the all-important About page to product names, blog posts, emails, and medical advice pages, it carries the customer through the Hug journey, every step of the way.

Brand building: technical

We designed and built a bespoke e-commerce website for Hug, incorporating advanced capabilities that facilitate a range of customer journeys.

Hug wanted to offer one-off products in addition to a subscription with an inbuilt discount. As part of their ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ philosophy, they decided to give customers the option to build their own box of raw recipes or opt for a set box.

Due to Hug selling perishables, the Build a Box journey needed to incorporate a weighting system. We designed a system that only permits check out once a customer hits the required product weight: this enables Hug’s chosen courier, DPD, to deliver freshly frozen Hug food at a safe temperature.

As Hug’s range is comprised of both raw and dry products, purchases must be placed in specific consignment categories, depending on the goods selected. Our development team worked to build a system that integrated and spoke to a range of APIs (application programming interfaces), including DPD’s: this allows for seamless order management.

We also merged Hug’s CRM system with HubSpot, so automated communications can send at various trigger points – think all those things customers have come to expect: newsletter registration emails, abandoned cart messages, and so on.

Brand building: it’s what we love

We thoroughly enjoy working with Hug. They’re a remarkable bunch of people with a genuinely noble mission: to help pets get stronger, happier, and healthier. From the moment Vicky walked into our studio right through to mid-pandemic virtual meetings, it’s been an absolute blast (and it was Poppy’s favourite project ever).

If you’re looking for a talented team to help your brand grow – and give it to you straight – we’re the people you want. Interested? Please get in touch for a chat.

Written by. Amalie Bleackley

Amalie Bleackley