A Tale of Two Companies

June 9, 2009

With apologies to Charles Dickens, many business leaders consider the current economic conditions to be the worst of times. So how do companies go about surviving, let alone thriving these days? Last month, ironically within the span of only a few minutes, Procter & Gamble and Revlon revealed strategies to help jump-start their businesses. But while Revlon was announcing 400 job cuts, P&G was unveiling plans to increase market share.

“We want to position ourselves strategically and competitively to be even stronger coming out of the recession,” Jon Moeller, P&G’s chief financial officer, said at the Sanford C. Bernstein analysts conference. Mr. Moeller said P&G expects economic conditions to improve in the second half of its fiscal year (2010). In recent months, P&G’s sales fell as consumers bought less and traded down. Officials told analysts they expect tough conditions to continue next year, with net sales projections ranging from up 1% to down 2%. P&G has in recent years had an annual organic sales growth target of 4-6%.

“Despite these challenges, we expect to continue to grow,” said P&G chairman A.G. Lafley. “Most importantly, we will grow our share. And we are prepared to invest to do just that.”

P&G is considering price cuts or offering lower-priced products, but it will also double its expansion into developing markets during the next five years.

New products are on the way as well. This summer, P&G will launch a Tide laundry additive called Stain Release, and a Bounce Dryer Bar fabric softener product that can be left in the dryer through repeated loads, instead of adding dryer sheets for each load.

Successful companies such as P&G zig, when their competitors zag. Or, as Warren Buffet once suggested, “Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.”

It’s time to get over the fear and start growing again.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Happi. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

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