GoPro: Brand Extension
In early 2017, camera manufacturer GoPro stunned investors by reporting its first recorded annual profit loss and a revenue forecast that sharply missed analyst estimates. What had once been widely heralded as one of the biggest initial public offerings of 2014, tripling in price in just over three months following the June IPO, the stock had tumbled 90.7 percent by the end of 2016. A series of camera pricing mistakes, altered product release schedules, and lower marketing spend, set against a backdrop of relative market saturation, negatively impacted demand for GoPro cameras. In fiscal year 2016 alone, units shipped and revenues both declined by nearly 30 percent, a remarkable reversal from the early days, when revenues more than doubled each year following the company’s 2004 launch.
While sales of GoPro cameras declined, its brand remained one of the most revered in the world. As a result, Tony Bates, director and former president of GoPro, mulled over ideas for leveraging the brand beyond the camera. For Bates, this meant potentially launching a new product using the existing GoPro brand in a different category. While it seemed easy enough, GoPro had to consider where to extend the business in a way that made sense for the company’s core demographic. GoPro also had to determine whether to license the brand to others or partner with another company. Given the consumer-centric roots of the company and the evolution of the brand, there was a lot to consider.
This case examines the challenges facing GoPro in the face of falling sales, and how best to leverage its increasingly popular brand. It provides a brief background of the company, the evolution of the brand, a description of early attempts to grow the brand, models for licensing the brand, how best to implement a licensing model, the need to protect the brand, as well as two case studies using Red Bull and Virgin Group as examples of successful brand extensions.