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Apr 3, 2020

The Coronavirus has presented Canadian businesses with unprecedented challenges. There is no compass for these uncharted waters. New approaches to customer, supplier and employee engagement require consideration and businesses underlying “operating systems” need to be updated and re-written.

In this episode, Tony Chapman a luminary of Canada’ Marketing Hall of Legends (2008) discusses these challenges with two fellow CMHOL Legend inductees, David Kincaid (2013) and Ken Wong (2006). Together they explore effective leadership through adversity and possible solutions Canadian businesses, in particular small businesses, need to consider as they manage through these uncertain times.

Organizational culture during Coronavirus (03:18)
During these unprecedented times, organizations are afforded an opportunity to step back and reappraise their cultures. David shares his points of view on culture as a driver for business transformation - “..culture acts as an enabler to creating competitive advantage.”

Recovery - big box vs small business (06:52)
Ken believes price will be the key lever for large enterprises in their recovery strategies. However, small to medium businesses can’t compete on this basis and need to find what’s in their wheelhouse. During this time it will be clear which businesses have true relationships with their customers.

CEO’s challenges (09:21)
CEO’s are facing numerous challenges in this environment. Maintaining profit, managing costs, narrowing their focus on what matters most, and doing enough to preserve today so when the times come they can rebuild. Ken and David share their insights and advise to CEO’s - take the time to plan & widen your focus.

Advice for small/medium business (13:45)
Truly understand what business you are in and identify what problem you will solve for your customers. Engaging with suppliers, key customers and local business associations to be part of the conversation is also key to addressing these challenges. David highlights the potential impact of e-commerce could have on small business.

Advice to leaders (18:54)
During these trying and uncertain times, what level of transparency is required from leaders? The panel provides their guidance highlighting the need to engage frontline staff - as they influence customer satisfaction - and engaging with team members at all levels to understand how things have changed and how this has impacted customers motivations.

Getting your house in order (22:23)
Creating a safe environment for consumers through rigours sanitation protocols and communicating this to your consumers is critical to establishing trust with your consumers. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Closing (25:21)
Tony Chapman shares his insights and learnings:
- Know what business you’re actually in, where you add value and why you matter.
- Understanding what lane you are in - focus on the things you can stand for
- Communication and transparency is critical when you're dealing with customers, employees and suppliers - we’re all in this together


Links and References

Ken Wong -
David Kincaid -
AMA Toronto -

Zellers -
Galen Weston -
Loblaws -
Harvard Business Review -
Costco -
Tom Peters -

Follow Tony Chapman

Website -
Twitter -
Linkedin -


About Canada’s Marketing Hall of Legends (CMHOL)

Founded in 2004, Canada’s Marketing Hall of Legends honours Canadians who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of excellence in the field of marketing. The award, created to spotlight the stories, people and brands behind Canada’s greatest marketing successes, recognizes a noteworthy body of work and a lifetime of achievements. Nominations for induction are held annually. An independent selection committee of top marketing professionals evaluates each year’s list of nominees.

Contact: Xzavier -

About AMA Toronto

The Toronto Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) is a not-for-profit community of volunteer marketers who have been creating opportunities for personal and business growth for more than 60 years in Canada. The AMA, with more than 20,000 members and 70 chapters across North America, is the largest marketing association in the world serving organizations and individuals who practice, teach and study marketing. To learn more about the Toronto chapter of the AMA visit