· 4 min read
A brand threw me out of a plane.
In October, GoPro invited 42 creators to a four-day, all expenses-paid jaunt to Interlaken, Switzerland, for its GoPro Creator Summit, where its new flagship product was rolled out, the GoPro Hero 11 Black—a sleek cube camera that carries a punch.
The assignment? Well, there was no assignment, per se. Just a bunch of content creators/action-adventurers who are accustomed to making content while traveling the world and me, an overgrown writer who sprained an ankle walking up a curb last week.
The craziest part?
We didn’t have any content mandates from the brand.
No agreement that we’d post X number of times.
No required brand language. No approval process.
Let’s talk about why that’s such a brilliant way for brands to work with influencers.
GoPro’s strategy was simple: Bring talented creators to a gorgeous location, gift a new product before it’s available to the public, show incredible hospitality, offer bucket-list activities as content capture opportunities, and stand back as creators create.
Sure, not every brand can get creators to Switzerland, find an invested partner like the Interlaken tourism board, or have a product nearly as cool. But you know what? GoPro wins here because it nailed the fundamentals of influencer activations.
- GoPro chose creators who actually use the product.
- GoPro built an experience that actually shows off the product.
- GoPro didn’t get in the way of letting creators be themselves.
Take Johnny Lo’s canyon swing video: 12.7 million views with 917,000 likes made it the top-performing individual piece of content from the Summit. GoPro didn’t need to ask Johnny to sign on the dotted line about posting—a canyon swing’s going to create unbelievable content, and each swinger’s gonna put their unique twist on their video. When you’re that chill with your creators, of course they’re happy to toss a handful of branded hashtags at the end of the post.
That’s a one-off—now let’s look at a creator who offered immense scale in her coverage.
Maybe you’ve seen Susi Vidal’s OnlyPans videos (that’s not a typo). She’s a cooking creator with 3.3 million TikTok followers and a ridiculously charming personality. By my count, she made 27 TikToks on her trip, generating 8 million views alongside a viral skydiving video (2.1 million views).
This is where not setting a required number of posts likely gave GoPro more content than the company would have gotten otherwise. If a brand sends me a creator deal for, let’s say, six pieces of content, I’m posting six pieces of content. I’m framing my story in six pieces, spending my time making sure those six pieces fit the brand’s expectations, and doing everything possible to make sure those six pieces deliver on results. I’m definitely not making 27 pieces on a per-piece brand deal, but Susi happily dropped 27 TikToks because she found 27 worthy stories to tell.
A Social Media Newsletter by Jack Appleby
Also please appreciate my Oscar-worthy performance in some of her trend content.
Casual content aside, the brand has a smart program to reward creators who do want to tackle specific creative requests: the GoPro Awards. Started back in 2015, the program allows any creator to submit content year-round for the chance to be rewarded with cash or gear. The Creator Summit had its own special edition with over $50,000 in prizes up for grabs in categories like Best Product Use Shot and Best Landscape Photo.
Take drone pilot Fabio, or as he’s known to his 154k Instagram followers, @fabreezy_. The kind-hearted creator nabbed Best Short-Form Recap Video and Best Raw Moment by focusing on collaboration, highlighting as many creators as possible in his videos. Both pieces of content are very much in his signature aerial drone style, but cleanly fit into GoPro’s content needs, working to promote the product on its own channels.
Just have fun with it
If you’re throwing a creator event, let the creators create. If your event’s good, they’re going to create and promote your brand in all the right ways. Trust that you’ve built an environment they’re excited to share with their audiences, loosen the reins, and let them run wild.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve earned a treat. Here’s my skydiving footage.
Wanna know more about the overall event? I interviewed GoPro Senior Director of Community Marketing Kelly Baker on all the details—hear that interview right here.