I’ve been waiting my whole career for this: the moment when the rest of the world finally realizes that one of the most effective employee communication channels is the lowly bulletin board (and its cousins, the poster and the table tent).

The bulletin board gets no respect. Yes, it’s true bulletin boards are widely used in manufacturing facilities, and as a way to provide information to other non-wired employees in transportation, retail and other industries. But most communicators spend very little time thinking about bulletin boards. And they’re even less likely to regard bulletin boards as a cool way to communicate.

That’s why it’s ironic that the fastest growing segment for advertising is “out-of-home,” in particular “digital out-of-home media” (which is known in the industry by the unfortunate acronym DOOH. Paging Homer Simpson!).

What are digital out-of-home media? Those TV screens by the supermarket checkout counter. A digital sign for a store on the side of the highway. A bus stop “poster” that’s actually an LCD screen.

While other forms of advertising are on the decline, this one is growing by more than 16% a year, according to a study by PQ Media.

What do these media have in common with the lowly (and low-tech) cork bulletin board? Just this important element: These communication channels are located where people hang out or get something done (like shopping, eating or traveling). This is important because their eyes (and minds) are more available. At the office, we’re distracted by our computer, our office phone and our smart phone. At home, the television is competing with other forms of entertainment and communication.

But while we walk through the employee entrance, wait in line at the cafeteria, or visit the credit union, we’re not so distracted. So a well-organized bulletin board or a compelling poster or—if budget permits—a LCD screen will capture our attention.

Don’t throw out the thumbtacks yet. The bulletin board’s time may finally be here. 

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