Understanding Consumer Needs: The Enduring Legacy of Konosuke Matsushita 2008-21-0037
Ninety years ago, in 1918, Konosuke Matsushita founded a company, which is now widely known as Panasonic, with three simple principles in mind. First, he wanted to create products that would permit average people i.e., consumers, to benefit from the most exciting emerging technology and infrastructure advance of his time, i.e., electric power. Second, he wanted to create products that average consumers could afford. And finally, he knew that his success would be directly related to his ability to create products that add value to the lives of those who purchased them – products that address consumer needs and desires. These simple, yet fundamental principles formed the foundation upon which one of the world's most far reaching and influential enterprises was born, and upon which its operation still is based today.
Starting with Konosuke Matsushita's first products -simple light sockets and bicycle lights - to today's high tech wonders – 32 GB SD Memory Cards, Blu-ray, and High Definition Flat Panel Televisions, this paper will examine how these three simple principles, which motivated the founding of the company, have guided the introduction and development of new technologies and products. In each case, an understanding of consumer lifestyles, their concerns and aspirations, combined with an ability to deploy the latest technologies, created successful product categories, not only for Panasonic, but for the industry at large. Today, Panasonic, often in partnership with other companies, continues to strive to continue in this tradition as it seeks to take “Ideas from Life” to create “Ideas for Life.”