A Camera, A Surfboard, and A Mega Brand: GoPro's Growth Story

Posted on June 19, 2019 at 4:31 PM

What do you do when you’re surfing in Australia or Indonesia, and you want to share your epic adventures with your friends and family? If it’s 2002 and you’re Nick Woodman, you put a camera in a waterproof case, clip it on the end of your surfboard, and make your loved ones insanely jealous. This is how GoPro was born. But it’s not how it became the action camera of adventure addicts and thrill-seekers.


A Brand Built on UGC


GoPro has grown into an eponymous brand, like Kleenex or Xerox. When you think of action cameras — whether they’re made by Sony, Panasonic, or Fuji — they’re all GoPros. That’s the name that pops up immediately when we see video of crazy people hurtling down mountains on bikes, jumping out of planes, or surfing in exotic locales. It has become the camera of elite athletes and extreme sports.


And it did it even though it wasn’t a new or even revolutionary product. Woodman took technology that was already out there, improved on it a bit, and ensured it suited his needs — and the needs of his target market: adrenaline junkies. No, what GoPro did was groundbreaking in another way; they built their brand on user generated content.


Beyond Typical Marketing


Everyone wants their 15 minutes; they want to be featured on websites or YouTube. And if they can make it into memes, all the better. Woodman recognized this, and instead of launching typical marketing campaigns, he gave his new products to athletes and adventure seekers and let them do the selling with incredible video.


GoPro then posts this user generated content to its website and YouTube channel, where we can all see the amazing stunts and escapades captured. The cameras are secondary; the point is that we live a little vicariously through these people and dream of our own adventures  — and of grabbing our own little piece of the spotlight.


This is how GoPro grew into a $90 per share brand (at its height  — we won’t mention the drone fiasco).


GoPro is able to leverage the power of their people. We live in an influencer world, and user generated content is essential in building trust and connections with your target audience. People don’t want to sit and watch a features/benefits spiel. They don’t want to just buy and use a product. They want to be involved. Nick Woodman realized this back in 2002, and he used UGC to build a powerhouse brand.


How can you get your tribe involved in your brand? How can you leverage user generated content to build a strong (and passionate) following? Think about it; the answers can change your marketing approach, and your company, forever.

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Tags: experiential marketing, customer stories, video success stories, video campaign, brand building, user generated content

About the Author:
Adam Grubb

Adam Grubb

AGP is a video media company specializing in b2b corporate video production, strategy, and management. Corporate video touches all parts of your business and Adam Grubb Productions is built to drive production, engagement, and video strategy at the highest level.

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