It’s been an solid week for brand pros, with the successful listing of GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRO).
“GoPro’s versatile cameras and accessories enable people to self-capture immersive and engaging footage of themselves enjoying their favorite activities. From extreme to mainstream, GoPro’s HERO® line of wearable and gear-mountable capture devices are transforming the way consumers, professional athletes, and video production professionals capture, manage and share meaningful photo and video content.”
Allow me to explain why I believe this is a standout brand to learn from, given their place now as a listed entity:
This initial financial success is clearly the culminating of a tide of forces coming together beautifully over time for this company — from vision, to company naming, to prototypes, to product lines, to footage going viral, to tapping an insatiable thirst for adventure in all of us — from a brandpositioning point of view I am in awe at how a seemingly nuts and bolts maker of clunky-looking action cameras, got it so right so early on in deciding on an idea around which to build their reputation (or brand as it’s more loosely called today), and thereon, their company: that of becoming a hero. Make no mistake, physical product design tricks are as lacking in these things, as they are conversely overt in Apple’s thingy’s and widgets — this is not about how desire for design made a brand, but rather how a brand became great from our deeper desires for the thrill.
You see, in our world, where most companies make pretty much the same stuff in varying forms and promise the same things, it is not these thingsthat stand brands apart anymore, vying for our attention and interest and care — although there is a strong argument for the role of design in contributing to this to a degree — but what these things stand for and believe in, and how they empower and enable us as human beings, are what serve to take hold of our hearts, minds and pockets, and become heroes at the same in today’s lore.
Standing for heroism, at everyone’s level, is awesome, amazing, simple and beautiful. Be A Hero says everything about GoPro the brand, with the cameras simply being downstream enablers of an idea that I venture to say will transcend technology and time.
I wish more companies understood that one single-minded insight-led thought can add value to markets looking for meaning, and add to market value as they build companies, and the brands around said companies. Just as Red Bull have done, moving the needle from making an energy drink to the more encompassing ‘Pushing The Boundaries of Human Potential’ (and look at how far that’s taking them), GoPro’s tenure looking forward seems to my mind, almost guaranteed — as the arbiter of everyday heroism, and wow, don’t we need more of that in our world today, at every level. Dads, doctors, soldiers and bikers, it’s all up for grabs, for all.
As it moves towards branded content curatorship and creation, and becomes the media powerhouse it’s destined to be, and still remaining a (behind the scenes) manufacturer, I’d argue that ‘get a GoPro’ will become part of our vernacular lexicon in time, just as Hoover did for vacuum cleaners. That’s not a bad way to imagine a future position of power and success.
So, this example is a snapshot of an idea-led, purpose-driven, brand-savvy, product story that has become a cultural force for our times. Creating a movement around your product (whether intentionally or incidentally) is a way to go beyond the limits of competing in the parity space of physical things — and dare I say it, a way to become a Hero too in today’s zeitgeist of the ‘brand of things’.
John Lennon said it so well in his 1970’s post-Beatles solo album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: “A working class hero is something to be”. Prescient words indeed. Well, now we can all be one — a hero I mean - I’m still working on the working class bit.