GoPro or Branding-Pro?


Stephanie Khodzhayan

Usually when a tech company receives widespread acclaim, it is because the brand offers consumers a product of unique capability, exceptional quality or affordable price. The company’s success is a direct result of the product it provides to customers. However, this is not always the case. GoPro, an American corporation specializing in the production of high-definition personal cameras has prospered for reasons aside from its products’ specs. There is no denying that the cameras produced by GoPro are of a high quality and of unique capability – the cameras are lightweight yet waterproof, shock-proof and durable. However, there are various other competing products which offer these same points of parity at a similar price, such as DriftHD’s Ghost or Sony’s Action Cam. So, how has GoPro managed to surpass these competitors (especially tech giant Sony) and achieve such massive appeal? The answer lies in the organization’s ability to effectively market the non-tangible aspects of its brand. GoPro is not merely selling a durable personal camera; it is selling consumers a feeling, an experience and an identity.

Through strategic marketing efforts, GoPro attempts to persuade consumers that those who use its cameras are daring, spirited, and imaginative people. Videos that GoPro shares with the public depict users participating in adventurous tasks like snowboarding down mountains, swimming with whales, or base-jumping. The company has very controlled branding efforts which are intended to convince the average viewer that GoPro users are fearless and thrill-seeking, which can be a strong tool in persuading someone to buy its products. However, GoPro’s success is not merely attributed to effectively hooking consumers into buying its cameras, or even in its ability to build a strong relationship between its customers and the brand itself. The company’s prosperity is unique in the sense that it is largely driven from interactions customers have amongst themselves, with the brand as an indirect influence. Take this hypothetical situation for example: Amateur surfer Ben Smith purchases a GoPro and takes it along with him on a surfing session. Ben records his day in the ocean riding waves, then later uploads that video onto Instagram and Twitter. A large majority of his followers instantly favorite and like the video since it’s a unique and intriguing post, unlike the selfies and pictures of food that usually congest their timelines. Ben feels pretty good about himself due to this large influx of ‘likes’ and continues to post similar videos taken with his GoPro.

Now, a follower of Ben’s, Kate, sees this video and thinks ‘This is pretty cool. I need to start doing adventurous stuff like this.’ Like Kate, a large majority of people strive to be more bold and courageous – which is evidenced in the fact that many include ‘Go skydiving’ as an objective on their bucket lists. GoPro plays on this desire for adventure, and attempts to show the public that anyone can use its products, from professional athletes to small babies. But, when sharing videos of babies using a GoPro to consumers, the company doesn’t use clips of a toddler sitting on a floor throwing a GoPro against a wall. Because, as previously mentioned, the company isn’t merely selling a rugged camera, it is selling an image. Instead, the brand releases clips of babies with GoPros doing exciting things (for a baby) like scooting around on a skateboard and swinging at a park. By showing people that anyone can be thrilling and bold when using its cameras, GoPro can easily sell consumers on the idea of purchasing its product.

Given the fact that GoPro markets its cameras as usable by anyone, an average shopper considers purchasing a GoPro to use while cycling around the city or doing a backflip on a trampoline. The shopper will then upload the video to his personal social media sites, where his followers will view and like the post. When noting the involvement of GoPro users on sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, it seems appropriate for the brand to consider creating its own social media platform specifically for GoPro users. Such a site would spur GoPro customers to share their videos/pictures with other users, as well as create an exclusive community that the general public would want to take part in, thereby further encouraging consumers to buy a GoPro.

The GoPro brand has managed to set itself apart from competitors not by what it offers to consumers, but how it is offered. By advertising the feeling associated with using its camera rather than the camera itself, GoPro entices consumers to purchase its product for the experience. Given that users generally have fun, invigorating experiences when using their GoPros, they form positive associations with the brand. The unique relationship that GoPro has created between itself and consumers will continue to benefit the company in terms of sales, customer relations and overall positive brand equity.

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