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Case study: MEO - purity and innovation in a mask

APEC 2021 will be focused on leading a collaborative regional response to the economic impact of COVID-19. We're looking at some of the stories about what businesses and communities in the host nation NZ are doing to support the COVID response.

MEO masks on the production line.

COVID-19 boosts demand for high-quality protective masks

The global outbreak of COVID-19 gave a boost to MEO’s value proposition – with consumers the world over seeking high-quality masks to protect themselves from the virus. No longer just an essential item for health care workers, MEO Director Kenneth Leong says wearing a mask became ‘the new normal’ for many, and MEO found itself extending its production plant to meet the growing demand. 

“Our distributors indicated they prefer our New Zealand face mask products. In an unregulated market during COVID-19, we realised quality assurance becomes more crucial than ever, and we are proud that we have FernMark and the whole New Zealand story behind our brand to market our products offshore during the COVID-19 crisis.” 

While globally, MEO faces a crowded market – with masks ranging from $1 to $100 each – it is the premium positioning in the market which sees its success against products of varying standards. 

Leong explains that the product range’s success can be attributed to New Zealand brand associations that upweight the company’s international standing. These include enjoying access to a high-value, scientifically verified wool-based filter, meeting multiple testing standards internationally, securing retail and distribution in key target markets and offering a fashionable yet technically superior product.

When the pandemic set in, customers the world over sought out high-quality masks to protect themselves against the virus.

Leong says this renowned environmental attribute made New Zealand an intrinsic part of MEO’s brand story, with the FernMark reflecting a winning formula of a proprietary New Zealand wool blend, the smarts of creative manufacturers and fashion design that breaks the mould for typical facemasks. 

“We believe that no place in the world evokes feelings of purity, healthy living and innovation like New Zealand."

He says the FernMark helps reinforce MEO’s position as a premium alternative to competing products, offering greater functionality and protection from airborne pollution. 

“So many of our distributors overseas recognise the FernMark; it’s helped close deals as many overseas customers perceive it as a symbol of quality, integrity, ingenuity, purity and cleanliness.” 

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