2023: moving from purpose to impact

Inclusivity is a priority and should be baked into every business decision.

Nicole Green

Co-Founder Catch


Sustainability, diversity, inclusivity; these words are now thrown around in marketing and communications all the time, but they’re quickly becoming buzz, without substance. 

This year is the year we’re going to have to put action behind these words, data behind the claims and transparency and integrity will rule.

Brand communications play a powerful role in the “purpose” space, (we’d argue it’s one of the most important ways to drive change)-  from giving a platform to the unheard or underserved, to providing education on difficult subjects to campaigning for the rights of those who most need it.

But now every brand wants to have a ‘mission’ and this has led to a murky world of subtle overstatements, unqualified claims and, frankly, lies tried on by companies believing their position in the market untouchable. This is what we call ‘mission-washing’ which incorporates everything from greenwashing to tokenism.

Brands intentionally trying to gloss over damaging practices with false marketing claims are increasingly being found out and called out. Consumers are savvy and holding brands to account, and the media follows suit. 

These bad news stories are damaging for progress and for credibility of every business in the world intentionally doing good.

Take fast-fashion brand Missguided, once a fan-favourite, splashed across Love Island and social media fame by some of the best loved influencers, faced a total demise last year. 

This was, in part, because citizens are becoming tuned into the damage these brands are doing to the planet; leading to resale platforms such as Depop and Vinted stealing a large share of the fashion market. Almost one third of the UK’s wardrobes are now made up of second hand clothes. 

Even Love Island, which used to have daily bagfuls of fast fashion delivered for contestants to wear on the show, now has eBay as its headline fashion partner with influencers styled in planet-friendly vintage pieces found for a quarter of the price. 

This is where the opportunity lies. To create desire and aspiration, and commercial value out of products and services that don’t harm planet or people. 

Consumer demand for businesses to be held accountable has been rising exponentially. According to a survey by Feefo in 2021, 74% of consumers said they were less likely to buy from a brand if they were disappointed by their words or actions on a social or political view. 

To be a brand that stands for something and lives up to its promises is a savvy commercial choice. 

At Catch, we’ve been committed to incorporating our values into everything we do from day one. From intentionally reducing our carbon footprint, to holding ourselves to targets as part of our role as a B-Corp, to hiring a diverse team and having a flexible approach to working. We didn’t do any of this for commercial gain, in fact a lot of this isn’t ‘efficient’ but we did it because it’s the right thing to do and in reality, it’s driving our growth as well. 

Our values dictate who we work with and why - like attracts like and we’re now lucky enough to be approached by other brands with an authentic mission who want to partner with us.

I believe this year we will see those willing to put the work in to make their claims a reality grow, and unfortunately, more brands whose promises don’t stack up will fall. 

We will see more, year round, integrated commitments to progress outside of flash in the pan campaigns. In 2022, we loved the commitment from the likes of UpCircle, who didn't run just a one month Pride campaign, but are committed to supporting the charity AKT all-year round, as well as working with a minimum of 50 per cent LGBTQ+ creators in all paid partnerships. Similarly, Vans used its year-long campaign to support under-represented groups to showcase the work of several queer artists from around the world.

This year, storytelling backed up by data will be more important than ever for mission-led businesses. 

Here are a few things we’ve learnt at Catch to avoid mission-washing: 

Listen first. Who is your campaign for? Have you really listened to what is needed to promote progress and inclusivity? How are you incorporating the voices of this group? 

Watch your language. We recommend engaging an expert who can advise on inclusive language, ideally someone who has a shared lived experience with the group you are talking to (see more from More Diverse Voices, who can help with this).  

Money matters. Talk is cheap, so they say. Really what we mean by this is that when it comes to supporting minority groups, paying people properly and directing money towards organisations that support them is a non negotiable.

365 not 30. What happens throughout the year is more important than what happens on your social feeds for one performative month, such as Pride. Inclusivity is a priority 24/7, 365 days a year. It should be baked into every decision you make, every day. 

Guest Author

Nicole Green

Co-Founder Catch


Nicole Green is co-founder of Catch - a communications agency for impact-driven brands and leaders of high-growth businesses. Nicole is a firm believer that business has the power to do good. It is on this belief she founded Catch - a certified B Corp, where an international team of communications consultants working on campaigns spanning food and drink, health, sustainability and finance to shape conversations and drive meaningful change - from campaigning on inclusivity in the period industry to unpicking greenwashing and promoting transparency in supply chains. Her background in journalism inspired her now 15 year-long career in PR and has seen her develop award-winning media strategies and offer counsel to business leaders. She is passionate about gender equality in business and has a commitment to building a flexible, diverse and progressive working environment.