P&G LEADS PEER STUDY FROM CANNONDALE: RETAILERS RANK PACKAGE-GOODS GIANT ON TOP DESPITE ANIMOSITY

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Procter & Gamble Co. is rated by the retail trade as tops among peer companies when it comes to strategy, marketing and category management.

P&G consistently came out No. 1 for best brands, best customer sales teams, most innovative marketing, and best supply chain and category management in Cannondale Associates' first PoweRanking, a yearlong study of 600 retailers and product marketers.

The survey was conducted via mail in three waves from May '96 to May '97 among consumer products companies and retailers. No margin of error was calculated.

P&G NO SURPRISE

P&G's finish wasn't a surprise-the company came out No. 1 in earlier Cannondale surveys on category management and trade promotion. But its ranking came despite several blind comments from retailers that stated they didn't like the company.

"I don't like dealing with Procter; never have. But they have smart people working for them, and they have shown me their programs can benefit my bottom line. I can get over my personal preferences if it's good for business," one retailer commented to Cannondale.

A full 63% of retailers said P&G has the consumer brands most important to them, as compared to 40% responding Coca-Cola Co.; 22%, Frito-Lay; and 20%, Kraft Foods.

P&G also was ranked the best brand marketer overall by 59% of retail respondents. Coca-Cola came in No. 2 for best brand marketer, with 36% of respondents, followed by 28% for Frito, 22% for Kraft and 20% for Pepsi-Cola Co.

P&G also got points from the retail community for consistency of communications.

"You can speak with anyone at Procter from John Pepper on down to the lowest level and you'll get pretty much the same message about what Procter is trying to do-simplify everything," another retailer submitted in an unattributed comment to Cannondale.

P&G blew away the competition in other areas, too. The company was rated by 32% of retailers as having the most innovative marketing programs, followed by Coca-Cola, 31%; Frito, 25%; Kraft, 24%; and General Mills, 23%. Its customer sales teams were rated best by 38% of retail respondents, as compared to 24% citing Coca-Cola; 21%, Kraft; 16%, Frito; and 14%, General Mills.

CATEGORY MANAGEMENT

In category management, P&G received 70% of the vote, far ahead of No. 2 Kraft at 19%; General Mills, 13%; Ralston Purina Co., 12%; and Kellogg Co., 10%.

Among retailers, Wal-Mart Stores was the most consistently rated, winning the top slots for clearest strategy, best store branding and best supply chain management. It also was named as most likely to be a power retailer in 15 years

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