• Kartik Thakur

GoPro : It's not a Camera, It's Versatile Storytelling

Let’s learn marketing the GoPro way ! An analysis of the secrets behind GoPro's Marketing strategy and what your brand can learn from it.

GoPro is one of those iconic recognizable brands that has changed the way you & I capture moments. You probably would have seen one of these small square cameras with Vloggers, Youtubers, artists or must have seen one of the skydiving videos amazed by the sheer thrill, rawness and beauty of it. GoPro had a classic entrepreneurial start when it’s charismatic CEO & founder, Nick Woodman went surfing and wanted to capture his surfing adventures through a hand-held camera that didn’t give up under all that athletic waves. That was the start of the first GoPro. Personally, one thing that fascinates me most is the way the company markets its flagship products.

You know what a GoPro is, even if you haven’t seen one yet.

Here have a look at the Instagram page of GoPro (right)

How many GoPro Products or company logo or branded material do you see?

Have a deeper look, come on!


What you see are moments –

as human as you are,

as real as they are

and as beautiful as they could be in the real world. And the best part, majorly all of it is content reshared by GoPro from the Instagram community users themselves. It’s all the pictures you uploaded on Instagram and hashtagged #GoPro. This is called as User Generated Content which I will address as UGC from here on in this article. GoPro is just there curating the best possible pictures and photos of ours out there on its platform and that’s all it does. No high budget ad agency productions. No high paid models persuading you to try the product. Interesting right!

Let’s dive deeper into the secrets of how GoPro has achieved so much success digitally through UGC Marketing & what your brand could learn from it!

1. Build a great Product

Without a great product or service that the customer would love to use and like, there’s no point of UGC. Rather than hiring art directors, celebrities and videographers with high-end photography gear, GoPro simply handed wearable RAD cameras to amazing athletes, adventure junkies and got back advertising & marketing gold.

2. GoPro doesn’t make cameras, they make versatile stories. They don’t sell cameras, they sell immersive sharing of moments.

Listen to these two quotes now – one from the late advertising veteran, Leo Burnett.

Don’t tell me how good you make it; tell me how good it makes me when I use it.

The second one from the great Harvard Professor, Theodore Levitt said,

People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

This is one thing that the competition lacks. GoPro isn’t just a piece of hardware, it’s a product and platform at the same time. The whole ecosystem is built as such that you have both the tool to shoot it, software to edit and a platform to share it!

3. The vicious cycle of adventure, validation & going viral on Social Media.

Source : GoPro Invester Presentation

GoPro tapped into this psychological hack. As the flamboyant CEO, Nick Woodman, says,

“Passion is the road map of our lives.”

Go-Pro users are in this cycle of adventure (the adrenaline rush it gives), capturing it on a GoPro and seeking social media validation. This leads to a never-ending barrage of content which is pure marketing gold for the team at GoPro. Viral Marketing & UGC Marketing are the basis of their marketing strategy.

  • Also, if you'd like my other article, I wrote on Marketing in a Pandemic, click here!

4. It’s Organic & Engaged Social Media Growth.

Source : GoPro Invester Presentation

From all of this focus on two numbers–

243 Million Organic Non-Paid viewership across all social media platforms & that’s great ! This means that the brand didn’t go out to shelve the product into the customer’s eyes but the other way round.

Instagram Followers – 17.2 M (now compare it to other recognized brands Ford 4.1 M, RedBull 13.2 M, Sony 8.4 M)

GoPro users share their videos with their friends & followers on social media which are usually like-minded people with similar interests and talents, which shape up as the desired target group for the company. People advocate the brand to others and as it is known that a prospective customer is more likely to listen to a third person’s advice on buying a brand’s product than the brand telling it to them on their face.

To say otherwise, in a selfish manner at the micro-level, they cracked the strategy to make their customers their brand advertisers in every corner of the world.

This cult following is engaging too which in my opinion is the secret mantra for the brand. Mostly for other brands in their digital marketing campaign, it’s just one-way communication like

They Came(the ads), You Saw, They Conquered.

But GoPro’s community is tightly knit & highly engaged. They have a dedicated staff at the company which answers to user queries and keeps the community engaged across all social media platforms.

5. Being there for a larger motive.

Also, the major reason for the brand being popular with adventure, talents & life-moments is that the brand’s ideology blends with their target audience's lifestyle. Engaging your audience to create content on behalf of your brand can develop the most authentic kind of relationship that an online retailer can hope to build. This is difficult to achieve for most companies, whose main aim is to make products for the people and their goal is to sell that product as much as possible. But the real audience connect is only when you work for a larger cause or a moralistic higher value. GoPro isn’t selling cameras on social media, it’s celebrating a lifestyle of adventure. GoPro’s ideology says

“We focus on delivering technology + experiences that frees people to celebrate the moment, inspiring others to do the same. We believe that sharing our experiences makes them more meaningful and way more fun. But it’s the millions of passionate GoPro users around the globe who bring the magic to life. They inspire us every day with incredible creativity that helps us see the world in an all-new way”

They have made the customer the Hero as they say

“The adventure is yours. We’re just here to capture it.”

This increases brand loyalty and a loyal customer is more likely to buy again from you and tell others about it.

6. Authentic Communication

Since it’s UGC and talks about user experiences & life moments from the user point of view (in literal sense), people are more acceptable to it than branded content off a high paying marketing budget. And they are consistent with it, they have on an average 50 posts per month which averages to around 2 posts per day. For a lot of companies, this a big number when you know that you cannot always flood the customer with their adverts daily. But since it’s UGC for GoPro, talking of everyday moments like cute dog & cats videos, animals dancing (they had a viral penguin dancing video), kids birthday celebration and talented ski-surfers & base jumpers likewise, it appeals to the audience and they don’t mind seeing such stuff daily on their feeds.

7. Giving credit to the users & influencer marketing

For every post made by the company, they make sure to give credit to the user, which is just a noble thing to do. It’s always about the community. They have a sweet mix of influencer marketing and UGC. Through regular influencer marketing, they make sure to have enough professional quality content as well as wins on the trickle-down effect of influencer marketing. (the ambitions of other GoPro users to do the same thing as the influencer does) In a lot of influencer campaigns by GoPro they actually mentioned the technicalities of the shoot, emphasizing on how they shot the photo and the story behind it.

8. Competitions & Financial incentives

Source : GoPro website

GoPro users are encouraged to participate in such competitions and they do win taking away whole lotta cash. So this financial incentive, as well as social recognition on the platform, is a compelling motivation for the users. Also, the yearly million dollar challenge, for which only entries shot through the latest (also the costliest higher end) GoPro Camera, is, in my opinion, a win-win for both the company and the users.

9. Teach the audience

GoPro teaches the community how to upload their submissions for the contests and teaches them useful tips & tricks to make awe-inspiring content on their platform. So it's constantly involved in the post-purchase community as well.

They have also partnered with the hotel major, Marriot and offer complimentary cameras to guests during their stays and encourage them to upload their GoPro pictures and videos to share their adventures. GoPro also sponsors the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado, which attracts 3,000 athletes and 53,000 spectators annually.


So, now that I have given these secrets behind the marketing strategy of GoPro to you, can you think of brands that are doing similar things through their digital marketing campaigns? Can your brand pull it off as GoPro has?

Drop down your suggestions in the comments below!

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