Nothing illustrates better the blur between product and service, tangibles and intangibles, than GoPro. Ostensibly GoPro is a manufacturer, and a very successful one. Since it sold its first camera in 2004 company sales have doubled every year. In 2012 the company sold 2.3 million cameras and grossed $521 million. Last year the turnover was expected to top £1 billion.
The ostensible order winners for their products is their ease of use, high quality output, and small size, enabling them to be fixed to head gear or clothing, leaving hands free to do other things. This is why they are used professionally by fire fighters, police officers, musicians, service personnel and so on; as well as sports enthusiasts, holiday makers, and just about anybody.
So how do you communicate these order winners to the market? Basically by ensuring that fantastic video footage shot on GoPro gets on to YouTube and goes viral. So when Baumgartner jumped to earth from space he was wearing five GoPro cameras. The Rolling Stones had 40 cameras to ‘self film’ their 2013 tour. And so on… Take a look at their website to see what I mean.
It is reckoned that 3 GoPro-hashtagged videos get uploaded onto YouTube every minute. Which is why the operation has a 40 strong production team whose role is to find, refine, and download the best videos shot on their cameras – from anyone and anywhere in the world. Which is how a very specific technological product is being sold on the basis of its entirely ephemeral output. And why GoPro is fast becoming a media company, not a manufacturer.
Sources: Forbes.com, GoPro.com, fastcompany.com