By Chloe Aiello
GoPro has carved out a niche for itself as the go-to maker of action cameras. And one trend in particular helped kick-start the camera-maker's success: the selfie.
CEO Nick Woodman told Cheddar's Hope King the company had a real "aha" moment around 2009 when it introduced high-definition (HD) footage into its selfie-style camera.
"Before GoPro ($GPRO), if you wanted any footage of yourself doing anything active, you needed a camera and you needed another person to hold the camera and film you doing something," Woodman said from the convention center floor at CES. "Not only did we enable people to capture themselves, we enabled them to capture themselves at a quality that looked like they were in a TV show or a film."
GoPro has put a lot of stock in the HERO7 Black camera's gimbal-like stabilization feature HyperSmooth to be another one of those defining moments in company history, as it fights to reignite its fan base and resist pressure to diversify.
The camera-maker has had a rocky few years topped off by tariff concerns that prompted a December decision by GoPro to move all U.S. production out of China. GoPro and Woodman personally have faced criticism that the company has failed to diversify in the face of what Oppenheimer analysts theorized could be a "shrinking addressable market."
But Woodman has stuck to his guns, doubling down on the loyal fan base GoPro has cultivated with active adventurers worldwide, rather than moving into other businesses.
"We've done it again with a HyperSmooth video stabilization, because now your GoPro footage truly does look professional," Woodman said. "It's really exciting to see what our customers around the world get up to with the new camera, and it's why everybody here I think is so excited ー because it is a really special innovation from GoPro."
GoPro's community of users is one reason Woodman isn't overly concerned about GoPro's various competitors.
"Our brand is built by our customers' shared experiences, shared using their GoPros, and they give us credit for it," Woodman said. "If that's the secret to our business and our brand, then to compete with us, you also have to have millions of people around the world doing this for you and growing you socially."
Of course, GoPro doesn't rely solely on its users for marketing and growing brand awareness. To expand its reach, especially internationally, GoPro is investing in localized marketing efforts that showcase "local faces, local places," in its shops and on social social media feeds, Woodman said.
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