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Daily News

Panasonic Dropping National Brand Name
Dec 9, 2003
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Electronics’ consumers are set to see a change in the way Panasonic brands itself. The Japanese firm, which originally started under the name National, is planning to gradually phase out its sub-brands in favor of a single, united Panasonic tag. On the list include National and the high-market brand Technics.

The change, which comes under the slogan "Panasonic ideas for life," will take place in the Middle East, South East Asia, and China by 2004.

"This act will raise awareness of the Panasonic brand amongst the younger generation and Arab customers," explains Shoji Hinoki, managing director, Panasonic Marketing, Middle East FZE.

"There is an increasing crossover between electronics and white goods. Even refrigerators today have an IP address. Panasonic as a brand can exploit this trend," he added.

With competition from the likes of LG and Samsung, who are both diversifying their product range, the move will enable the holding company Matsushita Electric to put all its eggs into one basket with a view to seeing domestic appliances carry the Panasonic brand by early next year. First on the list are microwaves, followed by vacuum cleaners.

"Of course it will take time and it won’t be easy," said Mr. Hinoki. " But this is a long-term strategy and we’ll invest in necessary promotions."

The Panasonic brand currently covers about 90 percent of sales outside Japan.

Meanwhile, Panasonic recently reported U.S. $1.1 billion in revenue for the fiscal year 2002-2003 in the Middle East.

According to the company, the figures show a 10-percent increase on the previous year.

"By the end of next year three years, we intend to achieve a 50-percent increase in business volume in the region," Mr. Hinoki said.

To achieve this, the company said it will focus on merchandising by introducing more digital networking products to the region." Mr. Hinoki added that Panasonic’s regional advertising budget was set to double by 2006 (ITP.NET)

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