How GoPro Used Storytelling for Visual Success

There are certain companies that seem to have everything going for them. To new businesses, and outsiders unfamiliar with the power of a strong visual marketing strategy, it can feel like these businesses have cracked an impossible code. The truth is they aren’t magic, they’re not super-social managers and they’re not anything otherworldly. What they are is smart businesses, with clever marketers and a strong reliance on engaging visual content.

GoPro is one of these companies. The versatile camera company started out over a decade ago as a surf camera, and can now be found on almost every surfer, extreme sportsperson, traveller and dog on YouTube. More than a camera, GoPro has become a household name, with their Be A Hero tagline echoing through the extreme sports world and beyond.

But what exactly had GoPro done to make them so wildly successful in comparison to their competitors?

1. They Inspire Visual Content

The first thing that GoPro did was inspire their audience by creating compelling, exciting visual content. Instead of creating how-to videos or manuals, GoPro let their product shine. Dispersing it among sportspeople and thrill-seekers, they created (and continue to create) an arsenal of videos showcasing just what the camera is made of, and all the incredible things it can achieve.

A recent showreel of the new GoPro 3+ Black Edition gives a good idea of how GoPro seeks to inspire their users, success at over 33 million views

2. They Accept and Share User Content

The concept of our fifteen minutes of fame has in an online world become 15 seconds of fame, but people still crave it. GoPro has capitalized on this by sharing and promoting a variety of GoPro users on their social channels with their Photo and Video of the Day.

These are posted regularly, credit the creators, and almost guarantee high-sharing potential. That makes GoPro a perfect launching board for athletes, thrill-seekers and so many more.

GoPro also rebrands its videos to have the GoPro product shot and on most of these videos, reinforcing the brand recognition in a manageable and non-intrusive way.

A viral example of a GoPro daily video of a fireman saving a kitten captured on GoPro, the video went on to win the 2014 Viral Video Award for the Best User-Created Viral Ad

3. They Give Generously

The first example that comes to mind is GoPro’s daily giveaway competition. The regular competition, called the Everything We Make Giveaway, involves GoPro gifting a box containing one of all of their products. This is certainly a consistent social media boost, but it is only one aspect of their strategy.

More interesting from a visual point of view is the spread of the GoPro brand. GoPro supports, sponsors and outfits sportspeople and thrill-seekers from all walks of life with products and branding. From stickers to mounts, accessories and cameras, if GoPro sees potential in the visual narrative of their users, they send products their way. For consumers this is a concrete reason for brand loyalty, as well as a strong company reputation.

A pelican gets outfitted with a GoPro and learns to fly again, showing the cameras versatility and potential.

4. It’s not about a Camera

It is clear that GoPro’s success and reputation is not just about the camera. It is a great tool, versatile, strong and very easy to use. But the big thing, the aspect about GoPro that gets people talking about both the brand and the product is how they’ve portrayed it.

GoPro have always prioritized their product as a way to capture memories, and immortalize the human experience. It has reached a point where for most customers an amazing experience feels incomplete without capturing it on a GoPro.

In that way, the product of the camera is secondary to the experience of using the camera, and the strong visual association between the product and the amazing feeling of living an adventurous life. It’s a marketing strategy that brings together user narrative and stunning visuals in a seamless and successful way.

Featured Image: Go Pro courtesy by Nicolas Vuignier

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