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Executive Survey: The 15 Big Companies That Best Embody Success; Includes Apple, BMW and LVMH

According to Booz & Company Research, the Most Successful Companies Hone in on a Few Differentiating Capabilities, as Opposed to Trying to Be OK at Everything

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 12/03/13 -- Booz & Company asked more than 700 senior-level executives around the world and across a range of industries to rate the companies in their sectors that best represented success. They chose the following "top 15" out of a list of 105 biggest companies in the financial, technology, manufacturing, energy, electronics, consumer, pharma and automotive industries.

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    Top 15 Companies Executives Say Embody Success (alphabetical order)
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    Apple
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    Berkshire Hathaway
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    BMW
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    Coca-Cola
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    Google
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    LVMH
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    Merck
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    Nestle
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    Philip Morris International
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    Procter & Gamble
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    Royal Dutch Shell
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    Samsung Electronics
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    Toyota Motor
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    Volkswagen
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    Wal-Mart Stores
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The survey also asked the executives to characterize what drives these companies' success and what sets them apart from competitors. Among the common threads that stand out...

  • The most successful companies "excel in a few functional areas, concentrate on only a few world-class capabilities." Companies that ranked lower were, according to the respondents, more likely to try to be adequate at everything.

  • The most successful ones, according to the respondents, were much stronger when it comes to "clarity of identity," which means knowing and focusing on the unique things the company stands for, consistently over time.

  • Respondents also said the most successful companies were more "coherent"; in other words, they believed that everything each of the companies does "points in the same direction" -- that products and services fit together well and support the company's overall value position.

A Few Differentiating Capabilities Can Lead to Big-Time Success

"Interestingly, the companies that in-the-know executives respect the most and feel are most successful do not stand out because of their assets or scale. They stand out because they have learned how to be truly excellent at a few things that matter to customers - a few distinctive capabilities," said Booz & Company Partner Paul Leinwand.

For illustrative purposes, the capabilities that Apple has nearly perfected include: deep understanding of how people live, work and play; intuitive user interface design; constant innovation across products, services and ways to interact; elegant and minimalistic design; holistic management of the customer experience; and support and integration of third-party developers.

For Procter & Gamble, the stand-out capabilities include world-class technology-based innovation aimed at providing reasonably priced, life-enhancing or life-changing products; global brand-based marketing and sales focused on communicating key product benefits; innovative manufacturing; R&D enhanced by open innovation to draw on ideas globally.

The Most Successful Companies Know Who They Are and Stay True to Their Identity

The Booz & Company research also shows that companies with the clearest identity -- those that stand for something unique and consistent over time -- have the highest three-year total shareholder return, or TSR. The effect is significant: Companies whose identity is perceived to be clearer than average have annual three-year TSR that is more than three percentage points higher than that of their peers.

"What separates the best performing companies from others is the extent to which they stay true to who they are -- their identity -- and whether they have built the distinctive capabilities that allow them to deliver their unique value proposition to customers," said Cesare Mainardi, Chief Executive Officer at Booz & Company.

To view the full survey results, please visit http://www.booz.com/global/home/what-we-think/reports-white-papers/article-display/what-drives-a-companys-success. To request a conversation with the report's authors, please contact Frank Lentini, Sommerfield Communications at +1 (212) 255-8386 / Lentini@sommerfield.com.

Methodology

Booz & Company developed the "What Drives a Company's Success" survey to better understand what is behind the success of the world's largest companies. It assessed the relationship between companies' approach to value creation and their performance. 720 executives responded to a web-based questionnaire between spring and late-summer 2013 which asked respondents to select up to three companies among the 15 largest in their broader industry, and use their specific areas of expertise to comment on what drives these companies' successes.

About Booz & Company
Booz & Company (booz.com) is a leading global management consulting firm focused on serving and shaping the senior agenda of the world's leading institutions. Drawing on the talents and insights of more than 3,000 people in 57 offices around the world, we help our clients achieve essential advantage by working with them to identify and build the differentiating capabilities they need to outperform.

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Media Contacts:
Frank Lentini
Sommerfield Communications
212.255.8386
Lentini@sommerfield.com

Margaret Kashmir
Booz & Company
212.551.6086
margaret.kashmir@booz.com

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