Panasonic Brings Light to Communities Around the World Through Social Media

akarim    October 14, 2014

Images courtesy Panasonic Facebook page.


Electronics, semiconductors, home appliances

Panasonic Corporation is a multinational Japanese electronics corporation headquartered in Osaka, Japan. Founded in 1918, the company employs over 270,000 people worldwide, with approximately 505 consolidated companies to date. Panasonic focuses on Audio Visual Computer (AVC) Networks, Appliances, System and Communications, Eco Solutions, Automotive Systems, Device and Energy. The company has a net sales worth 7.7B yen according to Forbes magazine. It was named #64 on Interbrand’s Top 100 Global Brands of 2014.

Strategy and Approach:
With a broad and diverse company like Panasonic, it is understandable that the company has an equally broad and diverse social media strategy that stretches over multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Instagram. Panasonic also oversees multiple social media accounts for different countries, and communicates with users in different languages (namely Japanese and English).

Panasonic has made efforts to elevate problems with regards to the environment, sustainability and the betterment of the global community. The company utilizes its own products and resources to promote awareness for these causes, often using social media as an outlet to spread awareness. The company relies on social media to communicate with users, and also people that they have worked with on their global initiatives. Panasonic uses the term “corporate citizenship activities” to describe its position as a global corporate citizen:

There are a wide variety of social issues related to poverty, energy, education, food, medicine and healthcare, primarily in emerging and developing countries. Even in advanced countries some of these issues may exist, as well as the problem of declining birthrates and aging populations. Moreover, environmental issues affect us all on a global scale. Many national governments, local governments, NPOs, NGOs, and international organizations have been working together to solve these social issues. Their efforts can be significantly bolstered with the effective deployment of the business resources held by corporations, such as their employees, technologies, knowledge, expertise, information and financial resources.

Going along with the theme of a “corporate citizen,” here is a clip from an interview with the BBC, discussing Panasonic’s move to pay its employees a “pollution premium” for working in highly polluted countries such as China:

Social Campaign:
Panasonic’s campaign titled “Cut out the Darkness” discusses the inequality of electricity in developing countries. According to the campaign fact sheet, 1 in 5 people (approx. 1.3 billion people) worldwide live in areas without electricity. The project aims to mitigate health problems caused by smoke, secure safety for women and children at night, and provide light to as many people as possible in developing countries. Panasonic has pledged to donate 100,000 solar lanterns to communities worldwide by 2018.

“Without light, people can’t cook, work, study, or receive medical treatment at night. Panasonic is sharing its solar technology to make their life better.”

Here is a promotional video for the campaign by Panasonic:

This campaign features solar powered lanterns designed by 11 international artists, as well as user-generated designs. These lanterns are able to light an entire room, and come equipped with rechargable batteries to retain unused energy. Interestingly, Panasonic utilized their community to share and collaborate with user-generated lantern designs. The user-generated designs are submitted through social media to a contest where the community votes for the top 100 designs.

Through this campaign, Panasonic is able to promote their brand and products for a good cause. By providing people with a necessity, they gain the trust and respect of the people they are helping, as well as the online community that partakes in the design process. Panasonic believes that these lanterns have “great power to resolve many social problems.”

The lanterns are donated to NGOs and international organizations active in areas Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Recently, Panasonic dontated 111 lanterns comprised of artist and user-generated designs to people living in Sumba Island. Since the campaign started, Panasonic has donated lanterns to communities in India, Kenya, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Uganda, Tanzania, Myanmar, Japan, China and 11 other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Lessons Learned:
– Promoting a social campaign for a cause, rather than a product boosts credibility and loyalty to the brand
– Users are more likely to engage and interact with corporate social media campaigns if it involves donation to a social cause
– Availability on multiple channels increases engagement
– Brand identity does not stop at your products and services; what a company does outside of its corporate environment has an impact on brand identity and customer loyalty

Panasonic Hompage –
Panasonic Sustainability –
“Cut Out The Darkness” Official Website –
Design Boom –

Submitted By: Alisha Karim – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.

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