Push or Pull?

Many discussions are taking place around push and pull communications these days – both for internal and external communications.

Using internal communications as an example, I wonder that despite how much we want to change behaviors from push to pull, what can we really do to make this happen?

I invite you to answer the following questions:

  • What do you do / what can we do to help employees and communicators navigate this behavior change?
  • In companies around the world, in some cases, there are four generations in the workplace. If not yet, there will be soon. While balancing all of the communication audience needs, wants and desires, how do we reduce the push information overload? What are your thoughts on this question?
  • I’ve heard some discussions around the fact that at one time the intranet would be the pull mechanism that would “solve so many problems regarding information overload”. Do you recall such a conversation?
  • It appears that the intranet isn’t the “go to” tool for all employees as many hoped. What have you seen as the number one “go to” communications vehicle – besides e-mail?
  • We can simplify internal communications by combining appropriate messages into one communication vehicle. For example, take a monthly leader message and include it in the monthly e-newsletter. What other ideas do you have to simplify?
  • Do you think creating a “pull” environment will limit your standing/reputation as a professional communicator?
  • And finally – what are your suggestions on creating a “pull” communications environment while “push” still dominates?

I look forward to hearing your answers and discussing further.

Published by


Susan Cellura is a marketing communications professional with over 20 years of experience. She is a dynamic communications professional and enthusiastic team-builder, with a progressive history of success in designing and implementing communications programs for global organizations. A strategic thinker with the ability to understand the needs of multiple audiences and deliver solutions, Susan is a results-oriented problem-solver with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation abilities. Having worked in a variety of global industries, she has grown business communications in her current position via a strong mixture of strategic resources, including social media.

5 thoughts on “Push or Pull?”

  1. Sue:

    The company editor today must be adept in both push and pull communications, but it’s a fact that most of us struggle with one or another of these vastly different forms of getting messages out.

  2. Bill – We may struggle with both, but conversations people are having are leading companies to attempt to convert to more pull within internal communications. Is this a trend that will fall away by the wayside or will we never get away from the complaint of “information overload”?

  3. I think that with the addition of ipod’s, HD radio stations, etc. more individuals are creating customized communication plans – they listen to what they want to listen to…however, the more customization, the more confusion – what message(s) are you wanting to convey? With 4+ generations in the workforce, plus throw in the gender variable, how can you communicate effectively without ruining the reputation of key individuals? I think that a “pull” environment leads to information overload b/c you will have a battle over what and how information is being communicated & the “communicatees” working their butts off trying to keep up and stay sane….resulting in longer than expected message conveyance. 🙂 Tootles Suze!!

  4. We will never fully replace Push with Pull. There will always be a small percentage that must be pushed. It’s not an either/or – we need, as Bill said, to handle both and they often overlap. There will always be information that every employee needs to know, whether they think they do or not, as Steve Crescenzo has said.

    I see that the social media revolution has led to an expansion of what push comms must do: not only should it inform and drive action, it now should spark interaction (start the process to two-way conversations with or between staff). Push comms should include an invitation to comment/rate/post/contribute.

    This is actually a fantastic addition, as individuals need to understand the info we’ve sent if they are to comment on it – interaction drives our goal of informing further along.

    In my mind, this shift requires us to turn our approach to Push communications upside down. As Liz Guthridge has says, we need to treat comms as a process rather than a single project/initiative/email.

    Instead of trying to perfect our single email and then firing it out into the void, what would happen if we looked at our broadcast communications as a whole and managed it.

    Come up with a strategy: define what’s appropriate to be sent and what’s not. Establish best practice for content, structure, delivery channels, etc. Provide alternatives for information that’s important but not urgent. Create Comms standards for the whole company i.e., standard email structures that make them easy to process/see the call to action, consolidated news bulletins to reduce interruptions…

    (Hopefully this makes a bit of sense)

    Thanks for the post – I could talk for hours about this stuff (and hopefully will get the chance at the IABC World Conference coming up) as so many communicators are dismissing their work informing employees using Push as no longer valid. And it’s still valid.

  5. Paula, Thanks for joining in the conversation, and it’s great to meet a fellow fan of Bill and Steve.

    I agree with you – you have to balance both. In my world, we call it “Project Simplify” and it is an ongoing process as we really take a look at all the different communication activities we start or participate in on a regular basis for our clients. We talk about ROI all the time, but are just now looking at what we’re actually doing versus just measuring whether or not it is working.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s