Panasonic is a global household name with a worldwide consumer base, and has held this position since the middle of the last century. However, changes in technology have drastically altered spending in consumer electronics. More people watch content through their smartphones and tablets than on television. This has presented traditional Japanese electronics firms with major challenges.
Fortunately Panasonic is a very diversified company, generating more than 70 percent of its global revenue outside consumer markets. It is market leader in many important and growing B-to-B markets, such as in-flight entertainment, rugged notebooks, and high-brightness laser projectors. To return to growth, Panasonic has adopted a global strategy of investing to expand its B-to-B business, including the provision of services and solutions. Unfortunately, the Panasonic brand is mainly associated with its consumer heritage, and the recognition of the Panasonic brand is significantly higher with people above forty years of age than for people in their twenties. As younger people become the decision makers of tomorrow, there is a risk that the Panasonic brand will not be considered regularly in B-to-B purchases.
The marketing challenge for Panasonic is to extend its brand recognition outside traditional consumer markets to make it better-known as a strong B-to-B player in selected markets. The traditional brand values of innovation and quality need to be maintained, and Panasonic’s strength in consumer markets should be respected.
- Use Panasonic Europe as a pilot for this global strategy, due to its existing sophisticated digital marketing platform and its ability to measure marketing impact on sales.
- Extend Panasonic brand recognition outside consumer markets and into B-to-B in the working-age populations of the UK, France, and Germany.
- Make the target audience aware of the Panasonic B-to-B product categories, so that they are searched online the next time a member of the audience has a related product requirement.
- Respect and leverage the brand values of Panasonic in consumer markets, such as quality and innovation.
- Show direct impact on B-to-B sales pipeline.
The target markets for Panasonic’s B-to-B product categories were the private and public sectors and large-to-small organizations. Employees targeted were people of working age in socioeconomic groups A–D. Lower groups were included, since these contain younger and less wealthy decision makers of the future.
Because people during working hours are focused on their jobs, it was felt that the best time to reach them was out of working hours. Here they would have more access to websites and social media that could be used as platforms to advertise the Panasonic B-to-B message. They would also have more time and freedom to learn.
Internet advertising would be the primary awareness-generating channel, since it was affordable, targeted, and measurable. While B-to-B PR would support the campaign, it could not be used as the primary communication channel, since B-to-B PR in consumer publications would be difficult to generate in the volumes needed.
Display, social, and search advertising would be used across all platforms: PCs, tablets, and smartphones. The campaign micro-site would be fully responsive to handle different screen sizes.
A prime group to be targeted would be visitors to the Panasonic consumer websites: they were familiar with the Panasonic consumer brand and would be more open to learn about Panasonic B-to-B. Hence a retargeting DoubleClick cookie pool was built up two months before the campaign started, to help drive targeted impressions.
To gain customer attention and break through the noise associated with Internet advertisements, a strategy of “shock and amazement” was used. Fortunately Panasonic has many incredible facts, world records, and stories that always produce a sense of amazement when told to people unaware of Panasonic B-to-B. This would create a “wow” moment that would stay in the person’s memory and generate curiosity that would stimulate further research.
We would also pay respect to Panasonic’s consumer heritage, but use it to challenge people’s knowledge of the company: the advertisements would all start with the sentence: “Just great TVs? Think again.”
The campaign started on May 9th and ended on July 31st in the UK. (The campaign is ongoing in France and Germany until January 2017.)
Social Media Movie Adverts
YouTube Advertisements and Channels
“Panasonic Business Overview Version, Approx. 70 sec”
(For UK phase May–July only. Germany and France to follow in autumn 2016.)
Impressions and Web response / site visitors
- 87,772,809 advertising impressions across social networks, programmatic display, YouTube, and search.
- 104,499 users came to the campaign micro-site, which features amazing facts, records, and B-to-B customer stories.
- 84 percent of the 104,499 visitors were new to the site.
According to an online survey conducted right after the end of the campaign in the UK, the campaign awareness ratio was 25 percent of total target respondents. The campaign awareness ratio is highest in males in their 20s.
Panasonic B-to-B business awareness
Awareness of Panasonic B-to-B business differs by twofold or more between those who were and were not aware of the campaign. This reveals that the target group has taken our brand image onboard, including the B-to-B business, through the campaign.
Q: How certain are you that Panasonic provides a B-to-Business? (Single answer)
Panasonic B-to-B business brand image
The percentage of people who answered “Not sure,” or “None of the above,” who don’t have any impression of our B-to-B business, drastically fell by the awareness of the campaign.
Image attributes specifically important to the solutions business, i.e., “Good partner” and “Professional“ increased. A large increase was also noticed in the other items.
Q:Please select all the image attributes that you think apply to Panasonic’s B-to-B transactions (Multiple answer)
The Panasonic corporate brand image
The campaign has also contributed to improving the corporate brand image. It should be noted that the image attributes important to a B-to-B business, i.e., “Trustworthy” and “Secure” have increased.
Q: Please select all the brand image attributes that you think apply to Panasonic. (Multiple answers)
Lead acquisition and pipeline creation from impressions after viewing advert (Marketo and DoubleClick only)
The chart below shows how people already in, or entering, the Marketo database, reacted to the advertising campaign. The peaks in May were due to the media schedule being front-end loaded; 78 leads with advertising impressions were created (subtracting tests and Panasonic staff), 23 of which were new to the Marketo database.
In addition to known leads (above), tens of thousands of anonymous leads have been created, indicating people who have visited our public websites but not yet revealed their identities. These represent future customers.
As of August 24, 2016, the pipeline associated with the advertising campaign is more than EUR €900K. This is expected to grow as people search for “Panasonic business” when they have projects to complete.