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Report | August 2017

Mayer & Cie among best in brand landscape

In Mayer & Cie’s case, the best brand image has been achieved especially by means of the company’s high degree of innovation and its technology leadership.

Albstadt-based circular knitting machine manufacturer Mayer & Cie. won a ‘Special Mention’ for its brand management in this year’s German Brand Awards. It was made at the prize-giving ceremony in Berlin on June 29. The German Brand Institute awards this accolade in recognition of special aspects of brand management. The competition and award scheme were initiated by the German Rat für Formgebung, or Design Council.

A strong brand comes as no coincidence

The Mayer & Cie. brand is registered in over 30 countries and well known in many more. There can hardly be a commercial knitter anywhere in the world who has never worked with a Mayer machine, let alone one who is unaware of the green MCT logo. But what do they associate it with, and is that what the company itself considers to be important?

Mayer & Cie sees itself today as a market leader, technology leader and innovation driver in circular knitting. Getting this self-image across means associating it with the brand by means of products, actions, activities, employees and representatives around the world. The brand must convey an identity to everyone and set itself apart from other brands. In Mayer & Cie.’s case this is achieved especially by means of the company’s high degree of innovation and its technology leadership. Together they create the economic success that has made the company an international market leader. Communicating this connection really does require a brand management strategy – one that was given a ‘Special Mention’ at the German Brand Awards on 29 June 2017.

Eight companies, including Kyocera and Motel One, topped the winners’ rostrum in Berlin. Named the Best of the Best, they can now call themselves Sustainable Brand of the Year and Brand Innovation of the Year.

That is why Sebastian Mayer, Mayer & Cie. management Board member responsible for corporate development, is delighted not only with the award itself. “It makes it clear,” he says, “that we have already reached a high level with our brand strategy – and that we are in the best company of others from whom we can definitely still learn a thing or two.”

With the German Brand Awards and categories ranging from Best of Best and Gold to Winner and Special Mention, the initiator, the Design Council, aims to discover and present brands and brand makers. That is why only companies that have been nominated by the German Brand Institute, its brand scouts and expert bodies can compete.

The winners are chosen by an independent jury of brand experts in different disciplines, including professors of design and business representatives with a background in marketing and brand management. They take a close look at brand-typical features and presence and check inter alia how much the brand sets itself apart from the competition and how independent it is.

A ‘brilliant job’ in India

India is one of Mayer & Cie.’s five most important markets. In India’s premium and midrange market segment the German knitting machine manufacturer’s market share is 36 per cent. This means that at least one in three high quality machines India imports is a Mayer & Cie. (MCT) machine. In absolute terms, and from MCT’s viewpoint, the facts are that in 2016 the German engineering company booked orders from India for well in excess of 200 circular knitting machines. The S4 3.2 II was a special favourite, followed by the D4 2.2 II. The most popular electronic machine in 2016 was the OVJA 1.6 E, a jacquard machine for double jersey fabric.

Batliboi has looked after Mayer’s numerous Indian customers for many years. Collaboration between the two companies is close. Mayer & Cie. sales managers confer with their Batliboi colleagues in India for several days every year. This year’s meeting was held in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, one of India’s textile centres. Topics discussed at the workshop were the general market situation and, of course, sales targets and challenges in the Indian market. Sales being more than satisfactory, figures similar to last year’s can be anticipated for 2017. There are, after all, several application areas with worldwide growth potential. The ones identified by MCT sales manager Wolfgang Müller were the manufacture of clothing and mattress covers. A new area that he mentioned was fabric uppers for sports shoes and trainers.

“That is why, where machines are concerned, demand for electronic jacquard machines, including the double electronics model, is unabated, and we intend to put this trend to good use,” he said. “Overall, demand is very strong and has led to long delivery periods. To reduce them is one of our key targets for 2017.” Not every customer was prepared to accept waiting periods of months, with the result that orders were lost – as India’s Batliboi reps had noted. Sales losses had been especially apparent in the single jersey segment for processing elastomers. Because Batliboi had once more mastered these and other challenges superbly, Müller’s keynote speech again ended with the words “A brilliant job!” – aimed at all Batliboi sales representatives.

Mayer & Cie. is a leading international manufacturer of circular knitting machines. The company manufactures the entire range of machines required for making modern textiles. Fabrics for home textiles, sportswear, nightwear and swimwear, seat covers, underwear and technical uses are made on MCT knitting machines.

Founded in 1905, Mayer & Cie. generated sales of EUR 105 million in 2016 with about 500 employees worldwide, according to preliminary figures. In addition to its headquarters in Albstadt, Germany, where around 370 people work, and subsidiaries in China and the Czech Republic, Mayer & Cie. is represented by sales partners in around 80 countries.

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