Panasonic is one of the most popular and recognizable names in the world of technology today. It has been that way for quite a few years, but the company was not always as well known and popular as it is. In fact, in the beginning, the name of the company was not even Panasonic. Instead, it bore the name of the founder. Started in 1918 under the name Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., the company has grown to become a well-respected member of the electronics field, making a host of different products. Today, even the font the company uses for their names is recognizable, proving what a staple of a brand they've become.
The History of Panasonic
In 1918, Konosuke Matsushita founded the company that would become Panasonic. In the beginning, they were a far cry from the company they are today. They began as a vendor for duplex lamp sockets, and it was not until 1927 that they began making their own products. They then made bicycle lamps, and they used the name and brand National to market that first product.
Through the 40s, they had factories in Japan and other areas in Asia, where they mainly made various types of electrical components, including vacuum tubes, motors, and light fixtures. At the end of WWII, they changed their focus slightly and they began selling other types of items to the Japanese public, including appliances, radios, and even bikes.
Eventually, they came overseas and began offering products to the United States. The first products they sold, starting in 1961, were television sets. They sold these under their Panasonic brand name. In 1979, they grew to include Europe and marketed their goods to that part of the world, also using the Panasonic name.
They were actually still using the National brand name outside of the United States up until the 70s when they expanded to Europe. The reason they had to change the name to Panasonic in the United States was because another company, the National Radio Company, was already using the name and they deemed their business areas to be too close to use the same name.
The company actually had quite a few sub-brands at this time, as well. They were exporting products to the United States under all of these different names, some of which may still be recognizable, including Emerson and Technics.
The company started to grow very quickly and they began opening manufacturing facilities in a number of different parts of the world. Over the years, they had been developing a number of high quality and innovative products, such as speakers, record players and turntables, radios, and televisions. Their products were known for being quite durable when compared with some of the other products on the market at the time.
An Interesting Side Note
Another company that's quite popular in the electronics field, Sanyo, was actually founded by Matsushita brother-in-law during WWII. They were competitors for many years, particularly through the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. In late 2009, Panasonic acquired Sanyo.
What Types of Products Does Panasonic Make Today?
The company makes a range of different products today including items. Some of the items they create and manufacture include cameras, air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, phones, audio and broadcasting gear, automotive electronics, batteries, and more. They have interest in a variety of different areas, and continue to push and innovate into other areas of technology.
A Green Company
Another interesting fact about Panasonic is that it is one of the top green companies in business today according to the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics. This guide ranked the company in 9TH place out of 15 among the top companies that are doing their part to minimize their affect on the environment.
An Official Name Change
Most people had always thought that the name Panasonic was the name of the company and not just one of the sub-brands of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. In fact, most would probably not even recognize the Matsushita name. In 2008, the shareholders in the company agreed that Panasonic, as a brand name, was stronger. It had more recognition, which is essential in building, nurturing, and growing a quality brand.