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What the company does
P&G makes your daily life better. The little things we take for granted -- like Gillette razors, Ivory soap, Duracell batteries, Charmin ultrasoft toilet paper, Old Spice deodorant, etc. -- are P&G's playground. And in that playground are swings and slides that other playgrounds would kill for. P&G has 23 billion-dollar brands, 12 of which are No. 1 global market share leaders. Actually, let me rephrase that, these shouldn't be compared to swings and slides, these are roller coasters in your neighborhood park.

What powers P&G
Innovation is not a word you typically associate with restroom products and personal grooming, but that's precisely what makes P&G stand apart. Procter & Gamble is an innovator. The company actually invented the soap opera as an advertising vehicle for its products (how many other companies have created an entirely new medium just to sell their product?), and it's the creative genius behind the Old Spice guy, possibly one of the greatest ad campaigns of all time.

The company spends more than $2 billion in research and development every year, nearly twice as much as the next-largest competitor, Unilever (NYSE: UL), and has the results to justify it. In the past nine years, almost all of the company's organic sales growth has come from new brands or new product innovations. In the past 14 years, the company has had 114 top 25 best-selling new products in their industry in the U.S. -- more than P&G's six largest competitors combined.

Why you should care
With a $180 billion market cap, $80 billion in sales, and near ubiquity already, you might wonder how much more dominant P&G can get. Yet, the law of large numbers doesn't seem to apply to this leviathan. Over the past five years, the stock has appreciated nearly 30% while the S&P 500 has lost 2%. Over the past 10 years, P&G stock has nearly tripled while the S&P dropped 15%.

Over the past six years, P&G has grown U.S. and international revenue at 6% and 14%, respectively. Clorox (NYSE: CLX), another diversified consumer products manufacturer, with a revenue base 14 times smaller than P&G's (and theoretically 14 times more nimble), was still able to muster only 4% domestic and 11% international growth over the same time period. As the results show, it's very difficult to make any argument that P&G isn't a best-in-class, best-of-breed titan among titans.

Fast facts
Business stats:

  • Billion-dollar brands: 23
  • Half-billion-dollar brands: 20

Business segments (FY2009 revenue):

  • Beauty -- $18.8 billion
  • Grooming -- $7.5 billion
  • Health care -- $13.6 billion
  • Snacks and pet care -- $3.1 billion
  • Fabric care and home care -- $23.2 billion
  • Baby care and family care -- $14.1 billion

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Fool analyst Sean Sun owns shares in PG. Clorox, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. Unilever is a Global Gains recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.