Matsushita Axes ‘National’ Brand in Favor of ‘Panasonic’

14 April 2003

After nearly eighty years of helming Matsushita’s product fleet, the giant Japanese conglomerate’s flagship National brand is to be retired in overseas markets to make way for its sexier Panasonic badge.

Phased over the next year, the rebranding starts this month and is intended to unify Matsushita’s image across the globe. Although Panasonic is already a global brand – exclusively used in the USA and Europe – National badges adorn domestic appliances, such as washing machines and refrigerators, in Japan, the rest of Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

While the Panasonic brand represents ninety per cent of all Matsushita’s non-domestic sales, National-badged appliances account for the greater part of the company’s turnover. It compares its new brand strategy to those successfully pursued by rival Japanese corporation Sony and Samsung Electronics of South Korea.

National is the group’s original brand, chosen in 1925 by the company’s founder Konosuke Matsushita, whereas Panasonic first saw light of day in 1955 when it was introduced solely for export purposes. It was under the Panasonic banner that Matsushita first began to flood the North American and European markets in the early 60s.

Data sourced from: The Asahi Shimbun (Japan); additional content by WARC staff