Bimbo Banter

Instamatic Response

  • Crisis
  • December 3, 2015
  • by Merrie Spaeth

Kodak instamatic 404

Years ago there was the Kodak Instamatic Camera. You snapped a picture and, in a few seconds, out popped a picture. (Remember? You had to immediately coat it with a chapstick-like goo.) It’s the predecessor to the ubiquitous Instagram and the modern need to constantly document everything with Snapchat.

I was thinking about the concept of Instamatic to describe the need to respond to questions, particularly from reporters. One of our clients got a call from a reporter asking to confirm if they were laying off employees. Some of the company’s divisions were expanding, and some were contracting or outsourcing functions. The company said the prescribed, “We’ll get back to you,” and tried to figure out how to describe what was actually happening. The media outlet didn’t wait and posted a story saying that “an unknown number of employees were about to lose their jobs.”

You know what happened next:  the phone and email lit up with employees petrified about losing their jobs. Although we think this is irresponsible journalism, it’s a fact that reporters are posting instantly.

Implications for you and your organization? You need to have your list of 20 potential situations, have your aspirational headline ready and be prepared to deliver it immediately. Update the list and one-line quotes at least quarterly.

Because most organizations are trying to be flexible and nimble, expect more inquiries like “Is anyone losing their job?” The right headline is probably:  “It’s not that simple... Our company is fortunate to be stable/growing, and units are expanding and changing regularly. Employees are our most important asset and our policy is to provide opportunities across all our divisions.”

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