I told a client recently that I wouldn't work with them if they wouldn't do some modest bit of audience research. I wasn't trying to be a bully. But I'm increasingly persuaded that research, even modest research, has to be a prerequisite for most strategic communications. Every time I've ever done audience research I learned things I didn't expect. And as insightful as my clients are about their customers, they don't know everything about their experience or perceptions.
Human beings constantly defy people's assumptions about them. I was reminded of this when I read this New Yorker article by the brilliant young writer Maria Konnikova that offers a handful of examples of how confounding human beings' response to information is and how good research can shed a little light on how to make smart impactful communications decisions.