GoPro (GPRO) hasn’t had an easy time as a public company. Since its IPO two years ago, its share price has tanked about 60%. But you wouldn’t know it by the energetic cheers at the company’s recent press event in Lake Tahoe, where it finally unveiled its long-awaited drone, the Karma.
GoPro’s compact cameras have long been a favorite among athletes (and wannabe athletes). Like Nike(NKE), it is an aspirational brand—consumers not only want GoPro cameras, they want GoPro T-shirts and backpacks and hats and water bottles. And its leader, Nick Woodman, isn’t just its CEO. A surfer bro himself, he’s the leader of the thrill-seeking, selfie-taking pack. Woodman says the secret sauce boils down to one thing: The company is all about positivity. “Get out there and live a big life, everybody,” he told the audience at the company’s product launch event earlier this week. “That’s what it’s all about.” The crowd—mainly journalists, financial analysts, and a lot of athletes—ate it up. (And yes, they were mostly male—hence the term “GoBros.”)
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Of course, it takes much more than broad, life-loving slogans to sell a hardware product to the masses. And GoPro’s future relies on its ability to keep churning out new products that its customer base has to have. After all, getting consumers to shell out hundreds of dollars for a gadget whose only function is to capture video—something today’s smartphones can do pretty well—isn’t easy. Even the latest drone, which the company says is much more than a drone, will have ample competition. Still, many consumer brands would kill to have the kind of cultish-like following GoPro garners.
At the launch in Lake Tahoe, attendees lined up to fly the new drone. Fulfilling my journalistic duty to try everything I write about, I lined up too. Unfortunately for me, I crashed the Karma right after it took off. A few minutes and a replaced blade later, I tried again. This time was much more successful. But would I buy the drone for its $1,000 ticket price? I don’t know. Then again, I’m not a GoBro.