Branding Tails

Written By

Willoughby Design



Posted On


Branding Trails - Pet Products, Pet Media, Conventions

Building Brand Strategy and Identities that Sit and Stay

If you’ve ever been to our studio, you’ve likely been greeted by Fritz, Colby, Gordon or Charlie. Pups in the house are the best thing ever. From helping Science Diet brand the very first dog treat to the invention of the Three Dog Bakery brand, the ground-breaking bakery for dogs that spread from Kansas City all the way to Hong Kong, we have a long history of working with companies that care for our furry friends. The tradition continues with pet products, pet media, conventions and the Raise the Woof campaign that we are thrilled to report helped bring a new animal shelter to our hometown.

How about a walk (walk!) through a few of our latest projects.


dvm360 Logo Before - Veterinary Conference Branding
dvm360 Logo After - Veterinary Conference Branding

As a company of animal lovers, we are always thrilled to work with pet product retailers and animal advocates. UBM, the largest events company in North America, owner of dvm360, one of the industry’s most influential veterinary media companies, engaged Willoughby to help refresh and align the veterinary group, UBM Veterinary, and its associated brands to better reflect the needs of its audiences and the mission of the UBM parent brand. The project included the dvm360 media brand over their flagship publication, dvm360 magazine and, as well as their national veterinary conference, The CVC, held three times each year.

dvm360 Logo - Veterinary Conference Branding

The CVC, a gathering place for vets, vet techs and their families, is produced by the dvm360 media brand but research revealed that no one associated the two. To add to the confusion, CVC stood for Central Veterinary Conference but the conference had expanded to the east and west coasts.

On our quest to bring these brands together so they could work better together, beginning with a new conference name, we went back to why vets become vets in the first place. They all love pets. And we quickly learned they need more play in their lives. What’s the oldest game? Fetch! So we extended the new dvm360 look to Fetch, locked them up together, and a new brand with shared equity was born.

fetch dvm360 veterinary conference logo

The vibrant and inviting evolution works across the entire brand family and was enthusiastically received by attendees and vendors alike as a natural extension of the positive and encouraging experience audiences already know and love from dvm360 and The CVC.

Read the full tale here.


Vet + Pet Logo

Following the launch of the rejuvenated dvm360 brands, an opportunity arose for a strategic alliance between UBM and the North American Veterinarian Community (NAVC) to create a new conference experience. We joined the team to name and design the inaugural event, Vet & Pet West, to unite veterinarians, pet retailers and pet parents in a three-tiered, inclusive conference experience that has never been done before. To complement the dvm360 event, FETCH, we christened the two new events, POUNCE and WAG. Naturally.

Fetch Logo - Veterinary Conference Branding
Pounce Logo - Veterinary Conference Branding
Wag Logo - Veterinary Conference Branding

The foundation of Pet & Vet West is the Fetch dvm360 conference that equips veterinarians with everything they need to succeed in practice and life. Pounce is a retail pet expo that goes beyond beds and collars to present new technologies and innovative pet products. Wag is a consumer pet conference for engaged pet parents who want to build the best relationships possible with their furry kids.

Graphics are bright and vibrant with energetic type and irresistible pet imagery. The brand personality is high tech with a communal, informative and inspirational vibe.

Read the full tail here.

Vet + Pet Signage - Veterinary Conference Branding
fetch dvm360 - Environmental Design Kansas City
fetch dvm360 - Environmental Design Kansas City


Petlinks Logo Before - Pet Care Branding
Petlinks Logo After - Pet Care Branding

Petlinks developed one of the first dedicated pet care “systems,” created to enhance the people/pet relationship with a foundation of love, sustainability, good health and fun.

But over time, the brand had been overtaken by competitors who had also created their own systems. The previous identity was also generic, corporate and very difficult to find in the highly populated, often overcrowded, pet needs aisle. It had become a brand in need of a good grooming and our job was to update the brand with a more emotional look and voice to grab pet parents by the heart strings.

Petlinks Packaging - Pet Care Branding
Petlinks Stamp - Pet Care Branding

Parent company, Worldwise, develops environmentally conscious products that are safe for pets, people and the planet. This benefit is still a key differentiator for Petlinks.

Dozens of prototyped packaging solutions were tested with consumers in focus groups and online testing. We tested every aspect of the package design including existing brand equity, color systems, photography, logos and language.

The Petlinks System package strategy took a drastic departure with more emotional photography and logotype. The new language focuses on educating Pet Parents to encourage the creation of a lifelong bond and a rewarding relationship with their pet. The choice of script typography also supports the premium retailer positioning.

Our consumer research also confirmed an opportunity for messaging that could come from a place of authority that specialty retailers have over the more mass merchandisers. To fulfill this, we launched the Petlinks Panel and added pet care advice to the packaging story.

Petlinks Tradeshow - Pet Care Branding

Standing out in the chaos meant assuming authority in meeting the needs of pets but also in refining the packaging for a more upscale, even sophisticated, look that made choosing a pet brand for consumers more like choosing products for their own children.

The line includes over 300 SKUs is rolling out across channels. And the proof is in the sales: The new package design is selling better than previous packaging.

Read the full tale here.

Pets make our lives better so anytime we find a chance to help make their lives better we’re all in. Plus, we love the kind of research that sits on our lap.

Petlinks Featured Image - Pet Care Branding