How GoPro Built Its Lifestyle Brand
Since high-definition action camera maker GoPro had its initial public offering (IPO) last Thursday, the company’s shares have increased 103 percent from $28 at the initial sale to just under $50 at the close of market on July 1.
While the rapid rise in stock is a huge boost to shareholders’ wallets, it also shows that investors are aware of the dominance GoPro has established over its niche market. The company currently has a 94 percent market share. Prior to GoPro, which was founded in 2004, there was no such thing as the action camera market.
What started out as founder Nick Woodman’s desire to create a camera he could use while surfing has expanded into all regions of extreme sports, such as snowboarding, skateboarding and base-jumping. The camera is also now being attached to recreational unmanned aerial vehicles – commonly referred to as “drones” – in order to capture aerial or fly-over footage.
The purpose behind GoPro has always been to be a camera that can go anywhere with you, no matter how extreme the location. This has translated onto the brand as a whole, which has shifted from being just about a product to a pure lifestyle brand.
GoPro is an important case study for up-and-coming brands. A large portion of its success has come from targeting a niche market that had a need or space to be filled. But even more crucial is its use of social media to spread the lifestyle of its customers to a broader audience.
To see how GoPro has succeeded with its IPO and as its status as a lifestyle brand, let’s look at another industry that has long been in the lifestyle brand business – car companies. Car companies have known for decades that the brand of car you drive often equates to how others view your lifestyle. The person behind the wheel of a Bugatti is viewed differently than someone behind a Ford.
What differentiates GoPro from auto manufacturers is the method by which it achieved its lifestyle brand status. Automakers have relied on decades of traditional advertising to build and cultivate their image. GoPro has tapped into its user-generated content to help shape the brand image. While it still uses traditional advertising, GoPro also focuses on how its product can help consumers capture that moment. Whether you want to capture a scenic bike right through a forest or an attempt to break a space-diving record, GoPro is there.
This user-generated digital approach is one that automakers – and several other companies – have been trying to tap into ever since the rise of social media. While it won’t be easy to duplicate GoPro’s rapid stock growth in that same timeframe, even well established brands benefit in the long term by using a similar consumer-centered approach.
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