Are we headed for another recession? Despite a historically low unemployment rate, many economists and business pundits say there's plenty of evidence that in 2019 or 2020 the economy is likely to tank. The reasons for a potential downturn include a trade war with China, rumblings from the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, and forecasts for slower GDP growth. What's more, the U.S. is in one of the longest economic expansions on record and therefore, some argue, ripe for a fall.

For marketers, it all points to one conclusion: Time to plan ahead, tune up the business before the next downturn, and think about how to react when a recession hits. "You have to make sure you're in fighting shape," says Allen Adamson, co-founder of Metaforce and adjunct professor of marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business. "But you also have to plan how to weather the storm."

Pinpoint Your Brand Value

In any economy, but especially during a downturn, it's all about how customers perceive a brand's value. "During an upturn, consumers are more open to new products," says Andrew Swinand, CEO of Leo Burnett. "In a downturn, people focus more on value." The upshot: Brands that truly understand the value their consumers bestow upon them are better positioned to ride out a slowdown.