Mon, 22 Dec 2003

Panasonic focuses on rebuilding brand in RI

One of the most famous brands here for electronic products, the National Panasonic Gobel Group has recently decided to use a single name -- Panasonic -- for all its products from home appliances to audio-visual equipment. The policy is the global policy from Matsushita Electronics Indonesia (MEI), the brand holder. Rachmat Gobel, National Panasonic Gobel Group president spoke with The Jakarta Post after officially launching the brand on Dec. 18. The following are the highlights of the interview.

Question: How do you see competition between South Korea and Japanese electronic producers?

Answer: Both South Korea and Japanese electronic makers produce good quality products. The technology is on the same par. The competition is on how to win customers. In Indonesia, where the market is very good and the demand is high, competition is not only among brands. But also there is competition with smuggled and counterfeit products. That is tough to compete with.

What is the level of local content for all National Gobel products?

On average, local content in electronic products produced by National Gobel reaches 60 percent and the remaining 40 percent is still imported. Products such as irons, fans and water pumps have a higher local content.

What is the reason behind the policy to use single brand name, Panasonic?

Competition in the electronics industry is now a regional competition. There are many electronic products in Indonesia which are not only from established brands but also new ones. To compete with new brands, we use one brand name because it is more powerful and efficient. Indeed, in Indonesia, consumers know the National brand name for home appliances and Panasonic for products like office automation, audio-visual or home automation equipment. However, Panasonic is widely known in most of the world.

What is your strategy to rebrand the products?

We have many campaign activities. For example, by appointing an Ambassador for Panasonic (Panasonic chose celebrity Dian Sastrowardoyo to become its spokesperson) who will be lots of activities for us. We also work with TV news channel Metro TV in a movie program called Panasonic Cinema. There will be many activities to follow. The challenge is how we can efficiently communicate with our customers. In the past, there were National and Panasonic. But with one brand, we need less energy to communicate the brand.

How does this change affect the company?

It will be expensive for then next couple of years, but in the long-run it will be easier for us, because like I said, we can focus our effort and energy to promote a single brand.

How is the outlook for next year?

We always look at Indonesia's market in the long-term, that is why we are optimistic. Next year, Panasonic must do better. We expect an increase in market share and sales. We expect market share to increase to 25 percent from the current 24 percent. We project the company will grow another 10 percent in 2004 because we continue to produce new and good quality products. At present, our air conditioners and water pumps are number one in the market.

Does the change of brand affect product segmentation and targeting?

We make our products available to all levels of society. For example, we produce a wide selection of fans from the cheapest to high level ones. The prices are adjusted to the public's needs.

National-Panasonic has been operating for 30 years. What is the secret of your success?

Staying active in marketing and selling new products.