I always leave TAAN meetings re-energised and raring to go, it’s part of the reason I attend them. The Iceland meeting was no different and I’ve returned to Glasgow really looking forward to the rest of the year.

When the economy is bad our clients need us more than ever, accurate, effective marketing makes all the difference when coming through a recession make no mistake. This will be the third recession we’ve encountered since we opened the Levy McCallum doors back in 1980. It won’t come as a surprise to hear I firmly believe the last thing a company should do is ‘batten down the hatches’ and hope to ride it out. This is a time to be outwardly bullish and inwardly prudent. Your marketing pound needs to work harder than ever but, believe it or not; your customers are more receptive than ever to your message. Everyone is conscious of value just now so it’s a very good time to remind them of just what good value you are. We might be living in uncertain times but people still want to live their lives. They still need to buy food, and Christmas presents and holidays and new tyres and read papers. That doesn’t change. All that changes is the thought they give them beforehand. It was clear that the economy is dominating every European and North American country just now, everyone at the meeting had similar stories of woe. But it was pleasing to hear how many were doing well and had clients who understood how to get through the tough times. The lesson from the meeting is talking to your customers is more important than ever just now.

We enjoyed a wonderful presentation from a lady called Morgan Shorey who is the New Business Director of a large and successful New York agency. She managed to make new business sound so simple and her approach to it is transferable to almost every business sector, not just advertising.

It’ll be interesting to see how many of her ideas I can incorporate into our own new business effort before our next TAAN meeting.

Lastly Iceland itself is a wonderful place. The people are reserved, yet very friendly when approached, and most speak excellent English which is handy when you are as ignorant of other languages as I am. The country is like no other, its northern location leaves it open to the north Atlantic elements and its volcanic nature makes an indelible mark on its landscape. But this ruggedness is hugely attractive, it is mountainous in places and flat in others, the lava fields are lunar in appearance and the coastal areas with the huge, never ending breakers rolling in can captivate me for hours.

When I arrived Iceland was one of the wealthiest countries in the world, when I left, 4 days later, it was turning into Zimbabwe. I don’t think my presence there precipitated this change, I’m not aware of being an angel of economic doom, and I certainly felt I did my bit to bolster their economy while I was there. I’m truly saddened by what is happening to them currently and hope they can come through it quickly.

Perhaps an advertising campaign is exactly what they need.