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Stay Positive and Take Creative Risks – Advice from the Marketing Hall of Legends

What becomes a
legend most? Well, it certainly isn’t a Blackglama mink in this
economy. If you listen to the advice of seven members of the Marketing Hall of Legends, a recession could be the best thing that ever happened to Canadian marketers and their creative agencies.

During a panel discussion in Toronto this week, just prior to the annual Marketing Hall of Legends awards ceremony, seven members of that exclusive club–Harry Rosen, Tony Chapman, Bill Durnan, Claude Lessard, Stephen Gunn, Paul Lavoie and Peter Elwood–said it’s important to stay positive and get back to basics.

Instead of being paralyzed by the negative talk heard daily in the media, Chapman, president and founder of Capital C,
encourages young people in the marketing business to promote their
entrepreneurial skills and be a source of positive energy for others.

Durnan, creative director at Cossette agrees.
Noting that word of mouth is the ultimate form of advertising, Durnan
advises marketers to get to know their customers better by starting
two-way conversations: “Build a community… get them talking about you.
They’re willing to almost be part of your sales force.”

Building relationships is something that Harry Rosen knows something about. The executive chairman of Harry Rosen
stores says sales staff are trained to treat every single person who
walks in the door as a future prospect. “No-one should be taken for
granted,” says Rosen. Staff recognize the value of an encounter, and
must present themselves as trustworthy professionals that clients will
want to come back to.

Toronto-based agency Taxi was founded during a
recession and built its initial success by courting brands that ranked
third, fourth or fifth in their categories, says Lavoie, founder,
chairman and chief creative officer. Even though these clients had
smaller ad budgets, they were “more willing to take risks and were less
resistant to new thinking,” than marketers who had the top selling

The last thing retailer Sleep Country Canada will
do in this recession is to cut back on advertising. “Our share of mind
and voice go up in hard times because our competitors cut back,” says
Gunn, who is CEO and chairman.

The Hall of Legends was founded by Mandrake and the Toronto chapter of the American Marketing Association.