Betting on the Future, Not Relaxing in Nostalgia
The news from Japan on January 10, 2008 was replayed around the world. Matsushita Electric Industrial Company, the hero of Japan's home appliance industry, announced that in October this year, the 90th anniversary of its founding, it would change its corporate name and all its brand names to unite under the single name of Panasonic. Fumio Ohtsubo, Matsushita Electric president, emphasized, “We are betting on future growth, instead of relaxing in nostalgia. In order to meet the challenge for global excellence, we must achieve this change now.”
Matsushita Electric was founded by one of the most well-known Japanese men in the world, a great man even now spoken of as a charismatic leader 19 years after his death, Konosuke Matsushita. The time has finally come to say farewell to the corporate name of this great founder. Current vice chairman Masayuki Matsushita represents the third generation of the family. At the press conference, he said, “I am only human, so of course there is some feeling of sadness. The corporate name Matsushita and the brand name National are enormous assets built of goodwill and the public trust over many years. But this is part of something bigger, of changing times. Some might think it is too soon to change, or too late, but certainly the time is ripe. Konosuke himself would surely be happy if he knew it was a change that would lead to the growth of the company.”
What is behind the decision of this company, in this 90th year since its founding, showing continuous growth and development over the years while continually gaining the absolute trust and faith of the consumer and of society, to suddenly change its corporate and brand names? What significance will this decisive action have on a competitive and highly combative global home appliance market? We went to the front lines in the three major markets that are expected to show spectacular growth in the near future, namely North America, EU and China.