This year has not been kind to GoPro. The brand hit the consumer scene in a major way, expertly combining new tech with easy-to-use consumer interfaces and encouraging users to create with their product and share it online. For years, this was the company’s best advertising, and it was always fresh, endless, compelling, and captivating.
Product Differentiation is a Must
Then came the over extension—too many products with not enough differences. Sales slumped as customers were confused by too many choices. Instead of focusing on recording their fun with GoPro, customers were being asked to mull over minute details, focusing on features instead of benefits. Sales dived faster than the skydivers who loved their GoPros.
Now the company has announced the delay of a project that was supposed to put them back on the cutting edge of consumer video. The GoPro drone, dubbed “Karma” was expected to hit the market in early 2016, but now the company is working hard to get it on the market in time for Christmas. And even that is iffy at this point.
Timing is Everything
In speaking to CNN, company officials tried to put the best spin on the delay, saying the decision to delay was “difficult” but implying “revolutionary features” were being “fine tuned” and the launch could be anticipated around December.
A Christmas shopping season debut is rarely a bad thing for consumer electronics, but for a company built on action sports, a summer release would have been better. Think about all those videos that could be posted between now and the holidays. You can bet GoPro certainly is.
Just a Smoke Screen?
Despite the positive spin, the company remains in dire straits. They had to lay off 7 percent of their workforce last year, despite better than predicted revenue. Stock shares that had already dropped 83 percent dropped another 6 percent to kick off 2016.
Waiting the rest of the year to roll out the product that is expected to return the brand to consumer prominence is a tough pill for the company to swallow. Between now and then, they need to do their best to recapture some of the magic that turned GoPro into such a winner in the early going. Without that, this summer could last forever.
Roman Temkin is a real estate developer in NYC.