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It's a small world, or a Petite Planet, after all even if you're a consumer-products business with $13.6 billion in annual sales inside a $76.5 billion global healthcare behemoth. Johnson & Johnson is trying to act more like the digitally enabled local players that collectively have become its biggest competitive threat.

As part of a presentation last week at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton, Fla., Alison Lewis, chief marketing officer of J&J's Consumer Cos., talked about how her far-flung business is thinking smaller. It's accomplishing that, in part, by reorganizing into multidisciplinary "squads" of no more than 10 people even on big brands, starting in North America. J&J is also encouraging its giant agency holding companies to operate similarly, using a single profit-and-loss statement.

A demonstration project here is Petite Planet the tip of the spear in a global relaunch of the venerable Johnson's Baby franchise. That relaunch is necessitated in part by inroads that small, digitally focused local players have made. So Petite Planet is trying to act more like they do -- but on a global scale and with some advice from Amazon.

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