Interview with Lauren Sallata, Panasonic Corporation of North America

For this year’s International Women’s Day, our team at Slice is proud to celebrate women across the marketing and communications industry through an interview series. Follow along throughout the week leading up to International Women’s Day to read about these inspiring women and their stories.

This interview is with Lauren Sallata, the Chief Marketing Officer for Panasonic Corporation of North America, a leading technology partner and integrator to businesses, government agencies, and consumers.

How do you define your leadership?

Panasonic has such diverse business units across a spectrum of products and solutions that harness the power of renewable energy, power the electric vehicle, and improve roadway safety, so it’s important to stay ahead of trends and understand the industry. Throughout my leadership here, I’ve made it a priority to listen and to be a great business partner. A part of that is understanding what the business is trying to accomplish—at the brand level, at the business unit level as well as over the short- and long-term. Through unique perspectives and customized strategies, that’s how we’re creating value for our customers and for the company. 

I believe in the player-coach model; not only rolling up my sleeves to do the work but also investing in talent and building competency and capabilities within our teams. Since joining Panasonic, I’ve established a Community of Practice for sales and marketing teams aimed at creating a culture of collaboration and sharing best practices. This includes monthly webcasts with third party thought leaders, a newsletter with industry trends and insights, and how-to guides on launching successful campaigns. Creating a trusted environment amongst the team is very important. Without high trust, high performance has less impact.

How has your leadership changed over the years you’ve been working?As you go through your career and have more responsibility, you realize you can’t possibly have all the answers. Throughout my experience of more than 20 years in technology marketing, I’ve seen the benefit of having diverse voices and perspectives to get to the right solution. For the first time ever, we have four generations in the workplace so embracing diversity and inclusion is even more critical to learning and better decision-making.  

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey?

One of my first challenges, and opportunities, when joining Panasonic was to rethink how marketing, digital and communications could empower the organization to deliver a great experience to prospects, customers, applicants, and employees. As a 100-year old company that had recently undergone a massive business transformation, the brand had not yet caught up with this repositioning. While we’d grown from a consumer-focused brand to also include status as a B2B solutions provider, our brand hadn’t yet caught up and we’re still continuing to evolve. 

Being entrusted with an iconic brand and put in a position to impact how we engage digitally, how we tell our stories, and how we serve our many audiences, has provided a great learning experience. As a chief marketing officer, my role is to ensure we’re considering the diverse audiences that interact with our brand on a daily basis, and in different markets.

What role do you think marketing communications should play in the future of your organization or industry?

For more than 100 years, Panasonic has been a purpose-driven company with our core mission of “contributing to society” and this continues to be in our DNA. If you ask any of our nearly 300,000 employees across the globe, they’ll tell you the same – our mission is to give back through our products and solutions, as well as volunteerism. 

Because we live our values, this makes brand storytelling a lot easier. Marketing, in general, is uniquely positioned as a function to be closest to market, trends, buyer behavior and preferences. Purposeful brand storytelling and communicating your “why” is critical.

Millennials, who are socially conscious and mission-driven, have moved into the decision-making seat at their companies and are looking to brands they conduct business with to reflect their values. Our new #whatmoveus digital storytelling campaign seeks to expose who we are as a company to the next generations of decisionmakers. We are leveraging marketing communications to reshape how we’re seen in the marketplace with current and future customers and to attract new talent and skillsets.

What do you think young women entering the marketing communications field should know?  What advice do you have for them?

Millennials and Gen-Z who have recently entered the workforce are in a unique position because they can be a great source of learning and inspiration. My advice to younger women is to focus on that value-add – know your strengths, be proactive, and focus on the outcomes that you can impact. 

Learn to walk in your customers’ shoes. It’s important to know your organization and the industry, have relationships in the industry, and understand the business. If you put the work in, the results will come. 

Interested in more? Check out the full interview series here.

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