How social lets your product sell itself

George Nimeh
George Nimeh

Challenger camera company GoPro is taking on the big names in video by following Apple's example in using its products to market its brand. We dissect its strategy.

What happens when you shrink an image-stabilised, wide-angle, full HD video camera to the size of one of those disposable cameras you used to get at weddings? A stack of sales.

GoPro is the world's leading 'activity image-capture company'. It's in cars and planes, and on almost anything that moves, including people. If you ski, skateboard, snowboard, surf or skydive, you've probably seen a GoPro mounted on someone's helmet, board or chest.

GoPro produces the HD Hero line of wearable and gear-mountable cameras and accessories, with a stated aim to make it 'easy for people to capture and share their lives' most-exciting moments in high definition'.

Viral by nature

GoPro sold more than 800,000 cameras last year, and people want to share the videos that they create with them. A GoPro video is uploaded to YouTube every two-and-a-half minutes.

Often, people use the brand name in the title. Videos with titles like 'Go Pro HD Snowboarding - Jan 3rd 2011 Amazing Powder Day' create an immediate and positive brand impact. As GoPro founder/inventor Nick Woodman says: 'GoPro is now in the hands of the people, and the people say good things.'

As more people use the word 'GoPro' to describe activity image-capture, it is becoming the de facto generic name for the category. You don't see that brand affinity with equipment from its closest competitor, Contour, or the big names.

Social is 'baked-in'

GoPro has found a way to turn every video uploaded online into a potential ad for its product. It's simple and very smart. On the company's own YouTube page and social networks, it shares 'videos of the week', which highlight content created using its cameras.

GoPro has 3.7m very active fans on Facebook and 312,930 Twitter followers. On YouTube, it has 314,236 subscribers to its channel, which, as I write, counts 174,320,296 views.

One giant leapFelix Baumgartner Red Bull Stratos

Using a chest-mounted GoPro camera, skydiver Felix Baumgartner captured a unique and record-breaking video as he plummeted to Earth as part of Red Bull Stratos earlier this month. As far as I can tell, GoPro did not pay him to use it. The brand knows that enabling unique experiences and creating awe-inspiring content puts it at the centre of the action.

Its product is its marketing

GoPro sells hardware as well as enabling unique content production and distribution. You could compare its combination of high-quality hardware combined with killer software to Apple. I'm not suggesting that GoPro will become one of the biggest companies in the world, but it has certainly taken a page out of Steve Jobs' playbook.



Two ways marketers can learn from GoPro

Make the most of social engagement

Think beyond user-generated content and ask how you can encourage people to interact in authentic ways with your products or services. How can you help them engage with your brand and create interesting outcomes? Market with your customers, not at them.

Seek small groupsGoPro mounted on skiier's helmet

Big reach and broadcasting are the bread-and-butter of many marketers. Get your message out to enough people, and you'll find the ones you need. Perhaps one of GoPro's most valuable lessons is that seeking out and interacting with niche groups according to their needs is effective. As most skiers will tell you, vertical matters.

George Nimeh, aka @iboy, is a digital consultant


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug