Scotland were 11-7 down at half-time in Florence but the half-time team talk from Gregor Townsend provided inspiration for Saturday's 28-17 win that ensured a bonus point haul for the Scots at the start of the new competition.
"Gregor touched on the fact we weren't working hard enough and as players that hurts us," Hogg told reporters.
"It gave us the kick up the backside we needed. I said to the boys at half-time that nobody questions our work-rate or our physicality again," he said, adding that that was what allowed them to turn the game around in the second half.
"We asked boys to stand up and be counted – and to empty the tank. We knew we had the players on the bench who could come on and make a difference," he said.
There were various factors that hampered Scotland early, added Hogg, not least a determined home showing by Italy.
"The big thing for us is that in rugby you have spells when momentum doesn't go your way and it is about how we combat that," he said.
"It took us a bit too long to get into the game – and you get that sometimes when you can’t get hold of the ball and dictate play. It is about how you overcome that," the Scots skipper added. (Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Gareth Jones)