Company Q & A 5/29/2013

GoPro Q&A with Nick Stagge, Senior Global Training Manager

GoPro Q&A with Nick Stagge, Senior Global Training Manager

GoPro was founded by Nick Woodman in 2002, while on a surf trip in Australia with friends, as an attempt to create the world's most wearable camera.

Now, over ten years later, GoPro is the fastest-growing camera company in the world and holds 90% of the wearable camera market (according to a 2012 article in Inc. Magazine).

"We're a product company first and foremost," explained GoPro founder Nick Woodman in a 2010 interview on "Our success comes from focusing on building the best possible products and people beating down our door for the products we make. 'If you build it, they will come,' has been true at GoPro."

Earlier this year at Outdoor Retailer, we met with Nick Stagge who had started as the company's Senior Global Training Manager just a few months prior in October of 2012, to learn about the immersive training program he is establishing at GoPro. During our conversation, Nick mentioned the development of a mobile app geared specifically towards assisting retailers on the sales floor.

"More and more retail accounts are encouraging their employees to use their personal devices on the sales floor to enhance a customers experience.  We are simply the first to truly tap into this from a training – retail assistant – perspective," explained Nick Stagge, Global Training Manager at GoPro. "Our retail partners will be able to download a password-protected app on their personal device unlocking the full GoPro experience."

We recently followed up with Nick via email to check in on the status of GoPro's mobile app for retailers. In addition to Nick's response, we also heard from Wendy Misner, Director of Channel Sales Program at Gopro, as well as a representative from Beyond Curious, the app developer.

"We're addicted to innovation and as long as people want to document themselves and their friends getting rad, we'll be making cameras and accessories that make that easy to do," stated GoPro founder Nick Woodman in a 2010 interview on

Can you describe your duties at GoPro as Senior Global Training Manager, a new role for the company?
The Training Program is focused on ‘Fostering a community of credible influencers’. While the sales team works with buyers to create sell-in & the marketing team works to build demand with the end consumer the training team works with the retail associate to increase sell thru, attachment rate and mindshare.

As the Sr. Global Training Manager I am responsible for infecting our global retail partners with the GoPro brand DNA and applicable product knowledge. We participate in the content creation aspect behind our messaging– telling a comprehensive story is crucial to effective training.  As content is created we then employ a host of tactics to effectively spread the message to our partners.

We spoke about how this was a position you had to create at GoPro, what was your hiring process like and how has that led you to be doing what you are doing for the company today?
I was working at Skullcandy as the Global Training Manager and had a former employee pass along the job posting through your site. I was instantly drawn to the brand & shot my resume over. The interview process was quick and easy – I started a few weeks later.

In a 2010 Q&A on featuring GoPro, founder & inventor Nick Woodman was asked how many people work at GoPro headquarters? He answered “I’d tell you but it'd be outdated by the time you get this up on the web.” You being a relatively new hire at GoPro, does this still hold true – can you speak on the continuing growth of the company?
GoPro is committed to growing the business, but doing so the right way. This means being extremely selective in the hiring process and only bringing on the right people at the right time.  We have, and are continuing to have success finding great people. 

Needless to say, Nick’s statement holds true today.

"This app brings a completely innovative approach to sales associate training – providing a lifestyle focused digital training solution that is designed to help promote passionate and informed sales teams," explained app developer Beyond Curious.

One of the latest innovations to come from the GoPro headquarters in San Mateo, Calif. is a mobile app geared specifically towards assisting retailers on the sales floor, which is close to launch – what’s special about this app in development?
We are pushing the boundaries. Rather than running from innovations and technologies we are embracing them. More and more retail accounts are encouraging their employees to use their personal devices on the sales floor to enhance a customers experience.  We are simply the first to truly tap into this from a training – retail assistant – perspective.

Our retail partners will be able to download a password-protected app on their personal device unlocking the full GoPro experience.  We have included interactive components into the app to help the retailer easily navigate through the interface, learn more about our brand and our products and share applicable product knowledge with their customer.

Wendy Misner (WM): First of its kind interactive sales training app to help drive sell thru, gain better understanding of our brand and our product ecosystem and on the spot answers to customer's questions.

Beyond Curious (BC): With more consumer electronics products than ever, and a high rate of sales associate turnover, the challenge retailers are facing centers around creating and sustaining employee engagement. Our vision for this app was to develop the sales associates connection to the excitement, energy, and passion that resulted in the GoPro camera and has driven the success of the GoPro brand.

BC: This app brings a completely innovative approach to sales associate training – providing a lifestyle focused digital training solution that is designed to help promote passionate and informed sales teams.  What we are really proud of is that this app stays true to who we are, showcasing a balanced focus on brand and product. With the push of a button, you have access to 360 views of the HERO3, the ability to compare products, or awesome tips on how to use each accessory for your personal adventure.  Then there’s a sweet video wall that slides down and pulls fresh user videos daily - and of course a section that talks about the epic GoPro story.

You mentioned programs with a few key retail partners, who are you working with specifically in developing the app?
We have worked with an app development company out of Southern California – Beyond Curious. This team has helped us not only on the execution side, but the creative, interactive and content aspects. We have been steering the ship, but they have been incredible to work with.

This app has taken over 10 months to complete because all parties have been so diligent about launching something that we can not only be proud of, but can truly say, has changed the game.

We have established training partnerships with specialty, CE and international retailers who will support the app at launch.

BC: We have been working with our partner, BeyondCurious (digital innovation company). Last year, when we were trying to figure out how we should be competing for mind share in the retail space, they pushed to do something completely different but also in line with the essence of GoPro – we brainstormed on how we could take more of a grass roots approach to help foster relationships with our sales associates. The idea for the app was actually born during one of our workshops…and we have been collaborating to bring it to life ever since. 

What about this app do you feel will help bring value to the brand?
Our product connects people together – just look at how many GoPro videos are uploaded to YouTube every day – this is another avenue for GoPro and our retailers to connect.  When you consider the number of impressions our retailer partners create every day, it is imperative for GoPro to arm our partners with credible knowledge and a deeper connection to the brand.

The app is one of many resources the GoPro training team has employed to educate the retail employees fighting the war on the sales floor.

WM: Helping sales associates answer questions immediately and accurately, helping connect our retailers with our brand, and our daily social media feeds through Photo and Video of the Day to help connect associates to the most exciting content in the industry.

BC: The fact that we are taking such a different approach to connecting to and educating our sales force, shows that GoPro’s hunger to innovate doesn’t stop with our products.  We understand that people who visit a physical retail space are in search of an enjoyable and entertaining experience, and this app enables retail reps to have a different type of conversation with the customer. Not to mention that it fits perfectly with the fact that many of our retailers are promoting “bring your own devices to work” for their employees; a growing trend that we feel will really drive the adoption of this app.

BC: For people that aren’t overly familiar with GoPro, it’s a quick way to open their eyes to why the HERO3 really is the world’s most versatile camera. The app does a great job in supporting the fact that our products fit well with any lifestyle – whether you live to surf or want to capture your kids first dip in a pool. At the same time, it introduces a new channel for us to connect to our core users at the specialty shops – I can bet that this app will give them a lot to learn and help them discover everything that GoPro has to offer. We also see great value in using this an internal marketing tool at tradeshows and action sport events; it’s a great way to showcase the latest of what we have to offer.

BC: Ultimately, the app is a way to expand our reach by way of maximizing the value of our products and winning passionate advocates who become brand ambassadors.

And how do you plan to educate the targeted users of the mobile app?
As mentioned before, we are developing training partnerships with key retailers across the globe. We value the input of all of our retail partners & have made it a priority to share the prototype app and launch plan with them. We are taking their feedback to heart and circling back to make sure we have covered every topic the best way possible.

We have also created a series of passcodes that will be tagged for specific retailers. This way we will be able to identify who is using the app & what they are looking at when logged in. We will share these analytics with our retail partners.

WM: Through eLearning and B2B Portals, direct email campaign, in-store app announcement card distribution, rep word of mouth, etc.

BC: Our targeted retailers are all aware of what we’ve been working on, many of them have actually gotten a sneak peak, and they love it. We are currently executing on our rollout plan by creating marketing materials to feature on training sites, demos, and in-store. We are confident in the apps usability, so our focus is awareness.

What difficulties do you see in developing a program targeted for different types of retailers – from a specialty action sports store to a Target or Wal-Mart?
This is a great question. The answer in my opinion is very simple though – no matter who is selling our product, GoPro is GoPro. Period. Our roots are based in the action sports industry, and our passion is in capturing life’s most exciting moments. Our story is consistent – we count on our retailers to convey that message appropriately to their customer base.

BC: The biggest obstacle was to develop something that was not only educational, but also still fun and relevant for all type of users; we want to educate the retailers, and also want them to use this app as a way to connect and communicate with their customers. Today’s shoppers are more than ready for the mobile and interactive technologies that deliver this level of experience - and retailers are trying to figure out how best to embrace the technology that exists in consumers’ hands.

BC: For specialty action stores, they typically have their own fan following, so we wanted to make sure that we stayed true to the brand. While these users are already enthusiasts, they aren’t necessarily experts on our products. The goal with specialty stores was to really demonstrate how the products fulfill the brand promise, and bring attention to the breadth of GoPro’s offering.

BC: With the big box stores, their focus is on revenue, and it really comes down to our ability to differentiate and bring awareness to our cameras. With retailers like Target or Wal-Mart, the same associate that is selling GoPro cameras may also be selling microwaves; this app is one way for them to get to know us and gives them a reason to engage. For the Best Buys of the world, it’s a bit different – it all goes back to mindshare. With so many cameras on display, we wanted to create a tool that would differentiate our products, create buzz, and provide a means for associates to engage with both GoPro and their customers.

BC: No matter how you slice it, we think there is a clear need that is being satisfied by the app. With the convergence of digital experiences in physical places, it’s critical for retailers to harness the power of technology to help transform the relationship between brands, retailers, and consumers.

"Our product connects people together – just look at how many GoPro videos are uploaded to YouTube every day."

What other challenges have you come across so far with your time at GoPro?
With our incredible growth and customer reach the biggest obstacle we are facing is bandwidth. While the team is still small we are challenged to reach all of our key partners. This is forcing us to look at out-of-the-box training solutions. There are a lot of eLearning solutions, however few of these are capable of truly connecting with the employee. When we examine eLearning resources we challenge our vendors to push the boundaries and do things never done before so we can ensure our partners receive the best experience.

Earlier this year at OR, we spoke about GoPro building a team of in-house Brand Ambassadors - how has it been working with to create a group of influential GoPro experts?
Experticity is a great partner. We are projecting over 100,000 retail participants this year through 3.5. Their learn and earn platform is interactive, fun and effective. We have truly partnered together to attack the Power Sports channel as well as pushing forward internationally. This year alone, we will launch 3.5 in Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, Italy & possibly a few other countries. 3.5 allows us to challenge the status quo and push for new and improved ways to educate our retailers.

Working to influence a team to spread the GoPro gospel reminded me of the Chief Evangelist role at Apple and brought to mind your mention of the Genius Bar being an inspiration for the developing training program at GoPro – can you speak on how you were influenced by Apple and what effect this has had with the training program?
We want to combine Oakley and Apple’s approach.

Oakley has been great at showcasing their expertise within a specific category. They truly educate retailers and end consumers on category standards. Apple is fantastic at highlighting the solutions their products offer. The combination of these two classic examples will help differentiate GoPro from the rest.  The training team keeps this in mind as we create our storyboard and when we develop our training assets.

What did you take from your time at SkullCandy that you are able apply at your new role with GoPro?
Spirits up. Head down. Push through the end.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job so far with GoPro?
Knowing that I have been given the freedom to build this team & the support necessary to make it work. The leadership team at GoPro sees the big picture & pushes their management team to execute at the highest level. At the end of the day, it’s a team effort. We win together or we lose together.

Thank you for your time and thoughts Nick. You can connect with
GoPro on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.