Are You A Hero? An Analysis of GoPro’s Marketing Strategy

GoPro. A brand name that has been associated with some of the most intense videos that we’ve ever seen on social media and television. Why is GoPro considered to be one of the fastest growing camera companies in the world, and what has helped them become what they are today? The answer is simple: GoPro’s marketing strategy. In this post I will give a brief history and introduction to GoPro, what its marketing strategy is, whether or not its strategy is effective, and then end with a question of how its strategy could be altered and what that could mean for GoPro.

GoProIn 2002, Nick Woodman returned from a surfing trip in Australia where he was disappointed because he was unable to get the footage he wanted of the trip because the required equipment was expensive and not readily available to non-professionals. After building several prototypes of a camera that could satisfy his needs, Woodman released the first GoPro Hero based on the 35mm film camera in 2005. Only a year later the Digital GoPro Hero was released. Since then, GoPro has released several models, but its most recent model is the Hero 4 Black which is capable of 4K video at 30 frames per second.

So what makes GoPro’s marketing strategy so special compared to similar companies? Before we define why GoPro is so successful at marketing its products, we should look at one of their most recent advertisements. The advertisement below is their most recent ad and was shown during the Super Bowl this year.

This ad and many of its ads in the past have one thing in common: they were all constructed from User Generated Content. GoPro’s customers construct their ads for them by submitting videos of themselves using the product in the field. This is genius. On one hand you accomplish the task of “showing rather than telling” in regards to advertising the product and on the other hand you don’t have to coordinate a brainstorm session for your next commercial idea; users do it for you and all you have to do is pick your favorite videos.

GoProHowever, GoPro’s marketing strategy accomplishes more than just giving the production team producing these commercials a break, it sells the idea of personal heroism. With each GoPro ad we see, we begin to see that we are capable of capturing the interesting angles that we see in our favorite professional videos of extreme sports athletes. GoPro’s name and its slogan “be a hero” all connect back to the main theme of personal heroism by allowing the user to feel as if they are a professional.

GoPro pushes the limits of story-telling and engages its audience by celebrating the adventurers who use their products by featuring them in their videos online. GoPro showcases its favorite videos submitted by their customers on their YouTube channel, which has helped GoPro become one of the most successful brands on YouTube.

Because of GoPro’s connection with its customers on many social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) it is able to reinforce brand loyalty by creating the opportunity for a user’s content to be used to sell the product. This connection via its user-centered marketing strategy and a product that is customizable, has a compact design, and is user-friendly is what has allowed GoPro to become one of the most successful camera companies in history.

After looking at GoPro’s marketing strategy it is easy to why GoPro is so successful and why it is a perfect example how social media can create a strong brand identity. In addition to selling its products through User Generated Content, GoPro also markets its cameras by giving them to celebrities and professional athletes. What kind of promotional content do you think has a greater influence on the target audience: content created by the average person or content created by celebrities/athletes?

Kyle Stoutenberg

4 thoughts on “Are You A Hero? An Analysis of GoPro’s Marketing Strategy

  1. Either way, both content created by athletes and content created by the average user accomplish the job of selling their product and promoting their brand. Personally, I think content created by athletes does more. When I see someone like Shaun White (professional snowboarder and skateboarder) using and endorsing GoPro cameras, I think to myself “Wow, this pro that I’ve looked up to for a long time uses action cameras that I can actually afford and he makes professional quality snowboard videos with them. Rad.” Whereas when I see a non-celeb using them, I still think their videos are cool but it’s not as easy of a connection. What do you think Kyle?

    1. Great perspective, Devin. However, I think that seeing the amazing content created by users like me inspires me more than a content created by a pro because I have a similar skill level to the average user. Plus, I’m not good at extreme sports, which is something that benefits from the perspective and camera angle from a GoPro.

  2. It’s a niche marketing that GoPro recognized the value of and capitalized on it as soon as possible. What a great idea for a product. Most great cameras are absurdly expensive and fragile…it’s nice to have a product on the market that has such a high quality photo, plus the protection and attachments to capture the shots you want.

  3. I think it is really hard to say. There is the obvious reason for why you would want a professional athlete or celebrity to make content with the GoPro, because that makes people think, “I wanna be like _____ and use this camera.” But then if you feature content that is created by the general public, then people could relate to the person making the video and think that they could be doing the same things and using the camera for the same things that the person in the ad is doing.

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