GoPro may be one of the most interesting Southern California IPOs in recent memory. Absent from this week’s New York Times writeup are most of the key words that scream “this is a tech product of primary interest to tech employees and investors!”
First, we only know the company thanks to its status as the king of viral “wow that lion looks so incredible in HD” spots that usually get far more clicks than your average ad. GoPro’s dominance of the “cameras do amazing things” genre is so complete that we immediately wondered whether they were behind the probably-fake “camera falling from the sky and landing in a pig pen” clip.
The question: how can a company making a relatively old-fashioned product stand out in a sea of news about the new?
GoPro definitely has an earned media strategy in place and understands its limitations. A couple of interesting points from the NYT:
In a possible red flag, GoPro said its revenue fell 8 percent, to $236 million, during the first three months of 2014, from $255 million during the same period the year before.
GoPro has long argued that smartphones and tablets are not likely to displace its cameras because most people don’t want to use their iPhones and iPads on a surf board and in other precarious situations. That could change though, if big mobile companies adapt their products, GoPro warned in its filing.
Differentiators clarified, though the company spokesperson interestingly let the filing speak for itself in this case.
The Forbes feature on founder Nick Woodman, which ran more than 2 1/2 months ago, is even more telling:
“The man-teen routine is more than an act: It’s the recipe for how he’s become one of America’s newest and youngest billionaires.
Woodman, who calls it a ‘life’ camera, proved the point by wearing one on his chest at the deliveries of his sons.”
The profile includes biographical details and phrases like “surf odyssey” in order to establish that Woodman is a bro’s bro, or “a 37-year-old Peter Pan running a billion-dollar technology company.”
At the same time, he’s not too overexposed.
So GoPro grew its market share over time and familiarized the public with its brand and product via easily digestible clips that appeal to pretty much everyone (but especially young men). It then used placements to cast its founder as a dude rather than a stereotypical ASD tech honcho and built a steady content trail before dropping the big acronym and going all-in.
What do we think?