GoPro Company Research Paper

Executive summary

GoPro is a company based in California formerly involved in the manufacture of cameras. Its founding is credited to Nick Woodman in 2002 when he felt a need for better features to surpass the ones that prevailed. GoPro is popular in making cameras, which are highly functional, waterproof, and lightweight, and with high resolution. Their primary motives were to be used in professional athlete and extreme sports enthusiasts market. The cameras would enable them to capture amazing scenes and experiences and share them with the rest of the world. With the elapse of time, the GoPro has ventured into other areas such as drone business and the creation of applications and software. The company’s digital marketing strategies include user-generated content, Viral Videos and Social Media Influencers and Generational Marketing. Also, competition became a threat to its performance and had made it necessary for product and brand promotion through various media preferably the social network. The company uploaded its unique and extraordinary photography works, which won the admiration of many people. GoPro further realized it needed to incorporate their customers in creating a friendlier environment and created the GoPro YouTube channel, which allowed customers to post their experiences. Social media has played a significant role in achieving their objectives and goals.

Introduction

GoPro is a camera manufacturing company started in 2002. Woodland identified a gap, which existed in the photography industry. Some areas were beyond reach and efforts needed to be supplemented with technology that is more efficient. This saw the manufacture of more great cameras, which could capture experiences at far distances. Competition moved the company to formulate strategies to retain its position in the market. The company engaged in other activities that added to its profits such as video programming and drone making. The company has shifted focus from enabling capturing of life moments to sharing, editing, and documentation of the experiences. For the success of the Company, it has to set its marketing objectives and goals. It also has to elaborate its Digital Marketing Practices, that is, user generated content. The company also has to identify its strengths and weaknesses and come with the way forward.

Goals and Objectives of GoPro

GoPro aims at internationally expanding, innovating new camera features and mounting them on smartphones. This is a measure to maintain its upward growth in the in the industry. Despite the impressing development of the company, its saturation has drawn near. Also, its rapid growth and success have attracted the attention of emulators who are driven by the motive of offering similar or even better services. Some companies such as Canon and Olympus are well endowed with resources and have the capability of developing and marketing similar cameras (Goguen, 2013). Therefore, the company needs to empower the innovation team to keep track with the rivaling companies regarding related technology.

The company also aims at cutting the cost of production and marketing of the products. This will in return reduce the prices of the products thus increasing the sales. The reduced production cost can be achieved by revising the existing strategies to acquire maximum efficiency. This might involve using cost efficient technology in production and ensuring that there is no underemployment and proper human resource management. The reduced price of products attracts many customers who use the cameras and appreciate the specifications (Caraballo, 2011).

The company intends to build up and expand the GoPro brand as a source of user generated and original content. Some big and well-known companies such as Apple and Google have engaged in the development of wearable cameras. Although the quality and technicalities of their cameras may not reach those of GoPro, the company brand may result to the massive selling of their products. This poses a significant risk as their potential customer base has shifted focus to the well-established brands. Therefore, for the company to survive the turmoil, it needs to not only better their products but also promote its brand to build a firm customer base. It will utilize the advertisement platforms to achieve this objective (Paro et al., 2015).

The company as part of the objectives has diversified its investment as a strategy for ensuring its dominance in the market. The Company focuses on becoming a media empire. It has signaled its intention of broadcasting of Sports whereby it signed agreements with the national hockey league and ESPN’s winter games. It has engaged in video programming with partner platforms such as Xbox live and Virgin America. Although the platforms are not as big as the YouTube, they have a substantial number of subscribers who follow and like the company’s productions. It has approximately more than 2 million customers who put the organization at top 100 in the rankings. This diversification cushions the company in cases of poor performance of a certain line of products in low seasons. This may tend to bloat the operation cost but in the end, yields profits to the company.

According to Woodman, the GoPro’s goal is to provide a variety of services to the consumers ranging from documenting, to editing, sharing and content storage. Giving applications that allow for editing enables customers to shape the photography into his /her desires. This boosts confidence and admiration among the customers thus opting for the products in preserving their experiences. Provision of a platform that enables sharing of documented experiences among the users ensures that the consumers spend little time unlike initially where a lot of time was wasted moving hardware, storage device cards, and cords. The consumers instead devote more time capturing and enjoying the documented experiences. Woodman feels that it is not adequate to service just to make it able for individuals to capture beautiful scenes and amazing experiences. The GoPro Company can help them analyze and summarize the experiences. The company needs to shift emphasis from the physical hardware to applications and Software that will facilitate the above advancements.

User-Generated Content

Year on year GoPro has been a game-changer in digital marketing. From innovative ways of segmenting the marketing to involving people by triggering emotions, GoPro has mastered the art of digital marketing and has been recognized as a first-mover in the industry.

The company is a leader in the action cameras market, with a profit of $1.6bn in 2015 and over 5.2 million cameras sold in 2014 (GoPro Inc, 2016).However, GoPro has achieved its renown without ever producing scripted TV. It’s strategy to put “the million-dollar marketing, and advertising value of user-generated content at the heart of” its marketing initiatives has resulted in ordinary people becoming advertisers, and implicitly advocated of the product for friends, family or complete strangers through the use of social media (Bobowski, 2014).

In fact, it is precisely through social media that GoPro empowers consumers to share their experiences with the cameras, and in return participate in the process of value co-creation for the brand (Pralahad & Ramaswamy, 2004). Therefore, consumers become less passive and more active about product information; that is electronically (Henning-Thurau et al., 2004) they become current sources and allocators of substantial information (Stewart and Pavlou, 2002).

GoPro encourages authentic and shareable content, by providing exposure to photographers and videographers worldwide, through shares and tags on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Recognizing the time scarcity of people and the fact that consumers are mainly emotional decision makers, the company concentrates on substantial content to be shared amongst its “fans,” and therefore create a sense of brand differentiation (Pringle & Field, 2008).

The company’s current campaign tagline seeks to capitalize on the desire of people to share their experiences and their influence to spread information throughout their networks, therefore encouraging collective intelligence and co-creation of value using a camera (Kimmerle et al., 2015).

The strategy of using user-generated content to achieve its marketing goals can be seen in the KPIs listed in Table 1. Instagram followers increased 53% yearly to around 12 million in the 4th quarter, facilitated by a 245% annual increase in members globally. GoPro’s content attained nearly 238 million, up over 40% annually, accelerated by a 160% yearly increase in Facebook views.  At the same time, although GoPro’s net income doubled from 2010 to 2011, the additional marketing cost was only $50,000. (Biancuzzo, 2014)

Viral videos and social media influencers

GoPro’s engagement with consumers encourages people’s participation in the production process. Similarly, it brings up thousands of free hours of publicity every week while making viewers feel connected to the brand (Landau, 2014). In its annual report, GoPro (2016) states that close to 22 years of its content regarding was uploaded to YouTube in 2016. Similarly, it indicated that its content was watched close to 78,000,000 hours in 2016, an 86% increase from the previous record. Out of that, 20 videos have over 10 million views, and the YouTube channel has reached 4.6 million subscribers.

GoPro is defined as a compelling message distributor among its equals on the digital platform (Eckler & Rodgers, 2010, p.23). This form of viral advertising has the power of creating viral behavior (ref), determining the audiences to channel the information to others (Porter & Golan, 2006). This creates the potential for exponential growth in the company’s exposure.

Similarly, a fully-consumer-led marketing activity can be seen as a “double-sided sword,” since successful viral videos are known to engage users and appeal to their emotions (Bradzell et al., 2008). To this extent, GoPro is encouraging positive reactions by building years connection with photographers and videographers. The company is a sponsor for many content creators, offering them cameras and gear to support their work, and in exchange uses their audience to keep promoting the business and create awareness about new products. For example, in December 2016 Travel Vlogger Louie Cole lost his GoPro camera while being on holiday in Bali, and was sent the newest version plus a protective case for it. The gesture not only allowed the Vlogger to continue creating content but also presented his audience the latest model of camera, while strengthening the brand’s image as a supportive company, which puts customers at the heart of its business. Therefore, advertising was delivered as a form of entertainment (Kelly et al., 2015). As social media influencers are already followed by people who trust their judgment, promoting a product is a more organic form of marketing (Tufts, 2016), similar to receiving advice from a trustworthy friend. Especially for Millennial, known for only sharing content if it is thought to provoke and intelligent, creating content tailored to their individual interests is crucial as it builds up brand loyalty (Newscred, 2014).

Strengths of GoPro Digital Marketing

GoPro owns one of the best content marketing strategies in the entire marketing platforms. Formulating a marketing strategy to efficiently market materials through various available platforms is a great challenge to most of the marketers. Content is very critical when it comes to marketing. Due to the current competition of search and social media, content marketing is demanding more interventions regarding finances and time. This tends to drag other marketers as they expand their position in digital marketing.

GoPro is among the largest brands within the popular websites sharing videos to the world. Video sharing sites are ranked second in the most visited Internet sites. GoPro brags of 2.3 million subscriptions in the YouTube channel.  It offers entertainment and information to its audience via the YouTube channel, which is relatively cheap and sensible given that they sell video cameras. YouTube values more channels commanding huge subscriber base. The growth of GoPro was reflected in its visibility in newsfeeds and search results. Therefore, it was a self-perpetuating process. GoPro does not plead with users for subscriptions or use video thumbnails to spam them. Provision of quality content is their way of convincing subscribers and users are only asked to join after watching their posted videos.

GoPro’s choice of the right online marketing channel is a significant move towards dominating the digital marketing. The social media and YouTube channel perfectly suit the company’s offered products. Brands should engage in channels that best match their audience and content. In GoPro, YouTube is the major social network since it perfectly suits its offered products. It often posts valuable content in the right place where the potential customers hang out. This has seen them make money and continue with the work of content marketing.

GoPro’s active participation in their channels has won the loyalty of many subscribers. YouTube being social media, activities conducted within the platform should contain aspects of socializing. The marketer should engage its customers by advising them on issues and responding to their queries. GoPro’s marketers visit the comment and express their gratitude to individual users who contribute to the channel despite the overwhelming numbers. They also use the platform to offer advice to users and give replies to their questions.

GoPro digital marketers have extensive knowledge about its fan base and therefore generate content, which their user need. They have kept in mind what has made them have such a vast following they are working hard to improve their content. High quality and action-packed videos with excellent visual capabilities are behind their ever-improving performance. They also have an opportunity to display their extraordinary products by making cool videos (Berardinetti, 2016).

Limitations

The company’s digital marketing has faced stiff competition from its close rivals like Sony, Xiaomi, and HTC, which offer similar products. Such well-established companies have better worldwide brand images. They are employing strategies analogous to those of GoPro to attract customers easily. This endangers the future performance of the enterprise. Additionally the lack of entry barriers, privacy issues is limiting go pro’s digital marketing activities. The security firm, Pentest partners, recently showed how easy it was for them to gain access to a Hero4 camera seemed turned off and spy on those around it.

The production and marketing cost is relatively high. Quite some staff is required to oversee the marketing process. The cost is accounted for while pricing its commodities and results to high prices for their products thus realizing relatively lower sales and profits. The high prices tend to shun potential customers away who opt to acquire similar products from other dealers with low prices. Therefore, the company has to come up with better ways of pricing its products (Gudacker, 2014).

Recommendations

For the Go Pro marketers to meet their objectives and goals, proper strategies and tactics need to be formulated and executed accordingly. The company needs to educate users on the importance of creating a secure password for security reasons. Security issues enable other companies to eavesdrop on users, view content and delete content through a Wi-Fi connection. As a result, consumers lose trust on the brand.  The digital marketers should hold a press conference, publish privacy-related documents, and publish short videos about the camera and password security to increase brand and product trust among the consumers. They can contact appropriate media networks to cover the story and help quell any privacy related fears the consumers may have. Therefore, they should continue integrating both traditional and non-traditional media to enhance digital marketing effectiveness by solving the issue of insecurity (Charlesworth, 2015).

The GoPro Company needs to find better digital Marketing Activities or improve the existing ones so as to retain its market position.The company also needs to regulate the rate at which it is releasing content and ensure uniqueness is adhered to, to avoid losing the value of its items much faster than it ought to be. Flooding the online marketing platforms with marketing content within a short span elicits mixed reaction within the consumers who might assume the information. They may opt for a brand, which posts unique and less content, which arouses anticipation within the users of the following social media item thus retaining and acquiring new fans. The digital marketers should target the different age groups from different marketing perspectives with the aim of attaining the highest probable sales. The marketers should continue engaging users on the social platforms to learn and generate content which the subscribers need and induce a feeling of pride and involvement within them (Gudacker, 2014).

Conclusion

GoPro’s Digital marketing has substantial potential for growth given its flexible nature of the products they provide. This is fueled by set objectives and goals upon which strategic plan is aimed at achieving. The digital marketing strategies have enabled it to penetrate into new markets and claim a vast customer area. It has also promoted the brand and has become acceptable to many. The company boasts of a large financial base, which enables it to finance its operations. Its adoption of high tech in the production of unique products has granted it a competitive advantage over similar companies. The ultimate goal is continuous growth and spreading over the entire world’s population.


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