Even though TomTom, Garmin and Sony have all released excellent and highly competitive products, the market for ‘action cameras’ belongs to GoPro. Like Google did with browsing and searching the web, the market is GoPro’s to control.
From 2010 through to 2013, GoPro spent between £40,000 and £50,000 on marketing, which is relatively low when you consider the company’s net income doubled in that first year to £24.6 million, and then doubled again by the end of that time period. GoPro is definitely doing something right.
But what is it?
It’s not as simple as just having a high-quality product with wide-ranging applications. GoPro has allowed its content-capturing platform to perpetuate its own success. If it was just quality that got you to the top, then its competitors would stand a chance – but it’s not. GoPro got a successful marketing model up and running at the right time, and at the core of that is its ingenious use of user-generated content (UGC) which, although invaluable, is a relatively inexpensive tool for engagement.
GoPro has created something that people want to be a part of. It’s handy that it’s selling the product which allows people to make content which in turn inspires others to do the same. It is a rather fantastic ‘chicken and egg’ situation with a far greater promise of a revenue stream.
— GoPro (@GoPro) November 29, 2015
People see the inspiring content, and then they want to create that content. Their friends see it and so on and so on. With the occasional hype of a competition or having your video posted as the clip of the day the momentum keeps on.
Keeping it simple
When your concept is strong and your brand identity straightforward then why not keep both the interface with your brand and the output simple too? Well, that’s exactly what GoPro has done.
GoPro's ability to put together the best content to harness an audience should never be underestimated. - Highlight to share -
There are simple explanations on its website of how to get involved, encouragement to put the onus on the individual, reminding them of their importance (who doesn’t like that?) and reminders everywhere of the amazing time that seems to come as part and parcel of GoPro ownership.
GoPro’s ability to put together the best content to harness an audience should never be underestimated. You only need walk past a shop selling its devices and you’re hard pressed not to look for longer than you would at any normal shop display. Children are completely entranced by the screens at the top of the POS stands, and for good reason. Enviable locations and often extreme and seemingly impossible performances from the subjects of each clip keep the viewer enthralled.
The rhetoric behind the brand is simple: ‘Capture and share your world’ and ‘This is your life, be a Hero.’ And the brand can be embraced and echoed through every bit of content.
— GoPro (@GoPro) November 27, 2015
It doesn’t just have to be extreme sports, it can be based on footage that other cameras have struggled to get in remote locations, closer to wildlife than ever before or being able to dive deep underwater and film the marine world as a regular person.
Video is always engaging and the varied content of these videos means that many tastes are catered for. This also makes it highly relatable in a way that a lot of formulaic or scripted advertising struggles to be. If anyone can point the camera and the quality is taken care of, then all a consumer needs convincing of is that they want to be a part of that experience. With over 6,000 GoPro created pieces of content being uploaded daily, it’s safe to say people are very much on board.
— GoPro (@GoPro) November 26, 2015
A focus around a simple message, an effective product, a simple instruction and an incentive to get involved have formed a supremely strong marketing platform. Much like the footage of avalanches following base-jumping skiers down mountains, the momentum carries you forward.
So what can you do?
Your company might not manufacture a content-producing machine like GoPro’s camera. That doesn’t mean you can’t get involved.
GoPro’s secret isn’t just the fact that the footage looks nice – it’s the extent to which the company and its products are built around the people who use it. People feel like GoPro makes products for them, and that builds relationships like nothing else. It’s no wonder it has people lining up to promote the brand.
Start simple – ask people what they think of your product or service. Are they happy?
Once you build a simple relationship with them, they might be more likely to share some more. Ask some more specific questions, and make a gentle suggestion of what format of content you’d like, and you might end up with something like this:
You might not think your company does the most exciting thing in the world, but what you do means something to your customers. Hit that heart string and you’ll be surprised at what you end up with.