Recessions were the cradle of some of the world's most iconic brands, says business historian Nancy F. Koehn, and there's no reason to think history can't repeat itself this time around. Business mainstays Heinz, IBM and Procter & Gamble all made their names during past financial crises, Koehn notes, by aggressively expanding their product lines, their marketing departments, or their research and development groups. The current crisis isn't so different from the ones before it, Koehn argues, and it still presents companies with a chance to get ahead by innovating when others are down.

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