Thinking about the Panasonic Brand Vol.2

May 01, 2023

Meet Our People and Partners / Feature Story


Thinking about the Panasonic Brand Vol.2

Ms. Mizuki Hashimoto (Executive Officer, Shiseido Co., Ltd.) 
x Mr. Yoshihiro Morii (Executive Officer, Panasonic Holdings Co., Ltd.)

As a symbol of a company’s activities and a bond connecting society, the company, and its employees, “the brand” is an important element in management strategy. For Shiseido and the Panasonic Group, brand strategy is a key pillar of management. Panasonic Newsroom interviewed Mizuki Hashimoto, who oversees Shiseido’s luxury skincare and makeup brand, Clé de Peau Beauté, and Yoshihiro Morii of Panasonic Holdings to discuss about the value they seek to deliver through their brands.

Brand is a guarantee of “value.”

Tatsuya Fukuzawa (Interviewer): Shiseido celebrated its 150th anniversary, and Clé de Peau Beauté—Shiseido’s premier brand—its 40th anniversary, in 2022. The Panasonic Group marked its first century in 2018. Tell me more about the positioning of the brand, taking into account the history of the company.

Morii: Panasonic was founded by Konosuke Matsushita, and when we talk about our corporate brand, it is inextricably linked to our management philosophy and policies. Konosuke defined our purpose as “Busshin Ichinyo” (material and spiritual affluence). Yuki Kusumi, our group CEO, applies a more modern interpretation: “realizing an ideal society with affluence in both matter and mind.” This is the cornerstone of our brand concept.

When Konosuke formulated his concept, Japan did not have an abundance of material goods. He believed that if Panasonic could provide products as inexpensively as tap water, then they would become widely available throughout the world. Today, Japan may have an abundance of goods, but I’m not sure we can say the same about our spiritual affluence. 

We also face a critical social issue: the environment. Both Shiseido and Panasonic are manufacturers, and in our case, CO2 emissions from factories and products amounts to 110 million tons per year. So, when we talk about our brand, we must acknowledge that resolving environmental problems is a prerequisite for achieving an ideal society with affluence in both matter and mind. This is Konosuke’s way of thinking applied to the present.

Fukuzawa: What approach to brand management have you taken at Shiseido?

Hashimoto: Three phrases encapsulate the philosophy of our first president, Shinzo Fukuhara: “Let the product speak for itself,” “Richness in everything,” and “World-class craftsmanship.” They express our desire to look beyond specifications to seek affluence through cosmetics.

Photo: Ms. Mizuki Hashimoto

Ms. Mizuki Hashimoto, Executive Officer, Shiseido Co.
Chief Brand Officer, Clé de Peau Beauté

We often use the word “value.” It represents not only “quality” but also, by extension, “the enrichment of people’s hearts” and the desire to “foster a beautiful lifestyle culture” through cosmetics. The Shiseido logo is a guarantee of quality, but it also represents the value—“enrichment of life,” “culture,” and “inner enrichment”—that you can derive from cosmetics. 

In 1888, Shiseido launched Japan’s first toothpaste. Back then, people used tooth powder, which cost around 2 to 3 Sen, and Shiseido’s toothpaste cost 25 Sen. It was expensive, but the product became popular due to its high quality, comfortable to use, and its beautiful package. I believe these features ultimately defined the Shiseido brand.

Photo: Japan’s first toothpaste, Fukuhara Sanitary Toothpaste

Japan’s first toothpaste, Fukuhara Sanitary Toothpaste

Fukuzawa: For 135 years, Shiseido management has appreciated the value of the brand. Mr. Morii, my impression is that since its founding, Panasonic has also emphasized advertising and branding, what about today?

Morii: Shiseido values inner enrichment, which is pretty close to what Konosuke was talking about. If you want to promote inner enrichment, then your products must have value. Konosuke said, “Don’t make products without value,” but also, “If you’ve created a product with value, then convey it to the world.”

Photo: Yoshihiro Morii, Executive Officer for Brand Strategy and Communication Strategy, Panasonic Holdings Co.

Yoshihiro Morii, Executive Officer for Brand Strategy and Communication Strategy, Panasonic Holdings Co.

Back then, we had a three-line ad for our National Lamp. It was short, so it couldn’t focus on function, but had to explain the value it brought to customers. This approach to corporate advertising is commonplace today—everyone uses it. Always look beyond the specifications and emphasize the value for customers. Like Shiseido, the idea that value is important to our branding remains alive and well.

Shiseido may be easy to understand because it’s a cosmetics company, but Panasonic has a vast number of businesses, so it’s difficult to grasp what the Panasonic Group is. In this context, we want to make our brand a leading indicator of “value” and present it to the world.

Employees are a critically important brand element.

Fukuzawa: How has Clé de Peau Beauté developed its brand philosophy?

Hashimoto: Clé de Peau Beauté seeks what Shinzo Fukuhara referred to as “richness”—the functions that underpin product quality, the science that supports them, the craftsmanship, and the design. The brand ambassador is the actress or model appearing in brand communication. The brand ambassador, the marketing expression and communication activities, the store design, and sales staff demeanor—all are elements of the brand experience.

Photo: Clé de Peau Beauté Brand Products

Clé de Peau Beauté Brand Products

Our biggest challenge is transmitting that brand value across regions, areas of responsibility, time, and generations. Since my arrival, we’ve established a multi-layered branding material, including a brand book, design code, design guidelines, so that our tacit knowledge can be passed down as explicit knowledge.

The brand is the foundation of the business and the source of value. Some aspects of this value are permanent and unchanging, while others must be updated as times change—distinguishing between the two is extremely important. When we renovated our office, we created a brand museum in our office that allows people to understand how our brand developed and evolved while preserving the brand’s DNA. The office’s design also reflects the brand philosophy.

Photo: Clé de Peau Beauté Brand Museum

Clé de Peau Beauté Brand Museum

Photo: Shiseido Office

Shiseido Office

Fukuzawa: As a firm believer that every employee should be aware of the brand on a daily basis, what do you think of Ms. Hashimoto’s approach?

Morii: I see some ideas that we should use, and others I can relate to very well. You said that sales staff demeanor is an element of the brand experience. I think employee awareness of what the brand is saying depends how deeply they appreciate the value they are providing to the customer.

Panasonic is committed to resolving global environmental issues, and when we act on this commitment, customers are rewarded with well-being—two pillars of our brand. Employees must ask themselves, “Am I also cultivating [well-being] and incorporating them into my work?” The answer only comes from truly believing it and making it happen.

Cultivating stakeholder affinity for a brand’s social and economic value

Fukuzawa: What kind of world does Clé de Peau Beauté want to realize and what is the “well-being” you want to deliver through your brand?

Photo: Tatsuya Fukuzawa

Interviewer: Tatsuya Fukuzawa

Hashimoto: In French, “Clé de Peau Beauté” means “the key to skin’s beauty.” The brand mission is to unlock the power of a woman’s radiance by harnessing makeup technologies and advanced skincare from around the world. Clé de Peau Beauté is a brand that helps customers unlock their inner radiance.

Clé de Peau Beauté logo
“unlock the power of your radiance”

Meanwhile, under Shiseido Group’s mission, “BEAUTY INNOVATIONS FOR A BETTER WORLD,” each business unit is required to generate both social value and economic value. 

Under these two missions, we’ve been helping to improve the status of women around the world. The Power of Radiance Awards recognize activities that support the education of women and girls. We’ve also been supporting gender equality through a global partnership with UNICEF. The first phase of this UNLOCK THE POWER of GIRLS initiative promoted employment and empowerment of approximately 7.9 million girls in its first phase (2020-22); it has been renewed for a second three-year period beginning in 2023.

When it comes to social activities, internal communication is very important. If we don’t foster employee understanding and empathy about what the brand is doing, then it simply becomes, “oh, the company is doing something good,” and the activity fails to take root. We work patiently to build relationships between brand members and UNICEF supporters. At our stores, we communicate that Clé de Peau Beauté supports women through UNICEF. When everyone feels the positive impact of our activities, then internal understanding and engagement increases, giving them substance.

Photo (from left to right): Ms. Mizuki Hashimoto, Yoshihiro Morii, Tatsuya Fukuzawa

Fukuzawa: What role does brand play in realizing the Panasonic Group’s purpose?

Morii: The Panasonic brand has two themes—one is global environmental issues, and the other is well-being—Our brand slogan is “Live Your Best.” Our seven operating companies may be developing their businesses independently, but this slogan is a promise to customers that as a Group we have a single goal.

The words “Panasonic GREEN IMPACT” describe the environmental vision by which we seek to solve global environmental problems. The word IMPACT contains the word “ACT” (to act), and it means that our commitment is made manifest by the action we take. “Live Your Best,” meanwhile, is a promise to each customer of the kind of “Best” that we can contribute to their lives. Both express our commitment to our customers.

“Live Your Best”
“Panasonic GREEN IMPACT”

I agree with Ms. Hashimoto on the importance of creating value based on social and economic value. Our DNA, values, and code of conduct are based on the belief that rewards are the result of our usefulness to society. We do not focus exclusively on profit—we address social issues and help customers live their best with “Live Your Best.” This is how we fulfill our duty to society.

Photo (from left to right): Ms. Mizuki Hashimoto, Yoshihiro Morii, Tatsuya Fukuzawa

Infection control measures were taken prior to this dialogue.


Mizuki Hashimoto
Executive Officer, Shiseido Co., Ltd.
Chief Brand Officer, Clé de Peau Beauté
Joined Shiseido in 1997 and the Clé de Peau Beauté team in 2015. With over 20 years of experience in global operations for cosmetic sales and in marketing, she has overseen major European markets in the role of Area Manager, alongside garnering experience in Travel Retail Market Operation as well. Before joining Clé de Peau Beauté, she was the Managing Director for Shiseido Singapore from 2012 to 2015 and was the first Japanese woman to lead an overseas subsidiary of Shiseido Group. In 2018, she was appointed Vice President of Clé de Peau Beauté, and assumed the current role in January 2020.

Yoshihiro Morii
Panasonic Holdings Corporation
Executive Officer in charge of Brand Strategy and Communication Strategy
After a quarter century at Dentsu, he held executive positions at Akindo Sushiro, Peach Aviation, and PwC Consulting before joining Panasonic Corporation in February 2020 as Deputy General Manager of the (former) Brand Communication Division. Became General Manager of the Brand Strategy Division, Panasonic Corporation, in October 2020, and Executive Officer, Panasonic Corporation in April 2021. He is a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Business Design.

Tatsuya Fukuzawa
Panasonic Operational Excellence Corporation
Corporate Communications Center
Former member of the Japanese national men’s volleyball team, Fukuzawa competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He joined the Panasonic Panthers in 2009, helping the team to three national titles. He retired from professional volleyball in August 2021.

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