We live in a new era of consumer austerity:

Less money to spend.
Less demand for conspicuous consumption.
And brands need to redesign for this new era.
A new era of ‘Essential’.


What does ‘Essentials’ mean for future Brand Design in 2022 and beyond.
Essentials doesn’t just mean cheap.
Essentials doesn’t just mean basic.

Brands must explore the deeper emotional meaning of this word that is so prevalent at the moment:

Definition: ESSENTIAL

Indispensable or necessary. The most important aspect or quality.

A basic thing that you cannot live without.

Belonging to the very nature of a thing and therefore being incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character.

If this is the true meaning of Essential, how can brands best connect emotionally to consumers with this message? I.e. What are the rules of best Brand Design for a new age of Essentials?

At FreshBritain we believe its these:

1. Reinforcing core brand values
Focusing on the essence of character and essential truth in a brand means getting back to your brand basics in the positive sense of the word. Understand and articulate your value proposition with crystal clarity.

2. Creating products of enduring value
Make products of simplicity that genuinely deliver on functionality and quality, with an enduring functional and aesthetic lifespan to enhance perception of true value.

3. Ensuring ‘Essential’ remains aspirational
By raising perceptions of value and pitching it as an expression of modernity, utility and simplicity. This is a streamlined modern living where conscious consumption is the new status.

4. Communicating Essential as future-proofed
Because simplicity and minimalism are ESSENTIAL for a new age of responsibility with finite resources.

So, who are the best in class for harnessing the power of Essentials in Brand Design?

1. Essential Waitrose & Partners
Leveraging a reputation for high quality products but providing a cost-effective option for its consumers, whilst maintaining an elevated perception of brand. By providing an Essentials range, Waitrose reinforces their role as a Partner, delivering the emotional effect of support to their consumer, especially in times of austerity.

2. H&M Essentials
H&M Essentials is shaped around an enduring functional and aesthetic lifespan. The range pivots off timelessness and accessibility, to create a range that is both affordable and built for longevity. The brand further emotionalises this through the concept of patina; that each garment over time will reflect the biography of the wearer.

3. John Lewis Anyday
John Lewis’ Anyday range spans across multiple product categories. It challenges the preconception that an essentials range is ‘throw away’ by creating products with strong sustainable credentials. In today’s ‘permacrisis’, not only are consumers faced with a cost-of-living crisis, but also a climate crisis. Therefore, there is collective responsibility to do the right thing that John Lewis is supporting its consumers with.

4. Fear of God Essentials
At the luxury end of the market, premium brand Fear of God released its Essential ranges to non-luxury retailers. The brand still remains highly aspirational, but it has made a once unattainable brand accessible to the mass market. Not only has this generated a huge community addicted to the product, but has also raised the perception of value. Essentials is now an expression of modernity in luxury fashion.

These brands are the best in class at creating a new age of Essentials and in doing so, are meeting demands for the next generation consumer:

A new consumer that does not want to compromise quality for affordability.
A new consumer that is turning to brands to help them in their time of need.
A new consumer that wants to buy products that do not cost the Earth.
A new consumer that wants to buy less and buy better.

As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, we can expect more brands launching essential ranges as a way to meet our new, future demands.