On October 1 Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. will change its name to Panasonic Corp., unify the National and Panasonic brands, which until now have been separate entities, and promote the slogan of “fitting the whole home with Panasonic” on a global scale.

The gathering that Matsushita Electric held on September 16 to announce the change to the press attracted more than 1,000 media representatives and turned out to be a mammoth reception. Images were shown on a huge screen, and Panasonic’s blue logo moved in time sequence from left to right so that the images fully permeated the room and reached everyone attending. President Fumio Ohtsubo was greeted by thunderous applause when he entered.

“This is the last time for me to be introduced as Matsushita Electric President Ohtsubo,” he said. “From now on I will be introduced as Panasonic President Ohtsubo.”

Quoting the words of Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Matsushita Electric, about “gathering the wisdom of many,” President Ohtsubo said forcefully, “We will integrate the Matsushita, National, and Panasonic brands, which have been separate until now, into the Panasonic brand, and our employees around the world will unite and devote all our energy to Panasonic without wasting a single drop of sweat.” He concluded by pledging that the company would promote the slogan of “fitting the whole home with Panasonic.”

Next, Executive Vice President Shunzo Ushimaru, who is in overall charge of brand promotion, explained the specifics behind the slogan of “fitting the whole home with Panasonic.” In particular, the participants gasped at the size and thoroughness of the media blitz when Ushimaru reported that as many as 120,000 TV commercials would be aired to raise brand recognition.

Managing Executive Officer Kazunori Takami, who is in charge of appliances, then announced the first Panasonic brand household appliances: a room air-conditioner, refrigerator, washing machine, and cleaner. Equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology, all of these products are energy-conscious and environment-friendly.

I have been involved in this business for more than four decades, and one thing that has always puzzled me is why the Matsushita Electric brands have been separate. In particular, as the Sony brand became more and more powerful, Matsushita had the Technics brand for audio products, the Panasonic brand for visual products, the National brand for the large, so-called white, household appliances, and, on top of that, the strength of the Matsushita corporate brand itself. Moreover, each of these businesses had a closed character, the Matsushita Electric Works' National brand was going it alone, and, to put it bluntly, the organization had become huge, heavy, and cumbersome.

South Korean companies began to emerge in recent years, too. In particular, in accordance with the economic policy of then President Kim Dae-jung prohibiting the dispersal of businesses by the big groups, carried out under the International Monetary Fund’s support scheme, Samsung shifted to concentrate on electronics. Receiving preferential tax treatment as well, Samsung managed to conquer the world in no time.

All of the global companies that have achieved spectacular growth have the same brand name and corporate name and exude a powerful sense of unity. It was with this in mind that I watched Matsushita Electric.

And Matsushita also has evolved from the “great reforms of Kunio Nakamura” to the “brand strategy of Fumio Ohtsubo.” After eight years of reform, Matsushita at last has taken the step of unifying its brand name and corporate name. I am deeply moved as well, and I would like to offer my sincere encouragement on the occasion of Panasonic’s fresh start. As a Japanese company, I hope that it realizes its goal of “fitting the whole home with Panasonic” throughout the world.

No doubt the date of October 1, 2008, will come to be commemorated by people around the world as the day when Panasonic made a powerful first step toward achieving its target of contributing to cultural development in the world and becoming an excellent company.