As the late, great Stephen Covey advised: Seek first to understand. Then seek to be understood. Public relations is not about messaging — it’s about listening, understanding and generating dialogue that furthers communication. What results from that can be wide ranging, from sales to improved health, to regulatory compliance to votes, to collaboration and partnerships. Market and public-opinion research provide understanding, real insight into what people are thinking and perceiving. We swear by research, whether it’s a survey of the masses, multiple focus groups across geographies and demographics, in-depth interviews with industry thought leaders, a content analysis of news- or social-media coverage, a statewide listening tour, etc. We’ve seen research help clients avoid wasting millions of dollars, improve operations that resulted in increased revenue, and restore damaged relationships and reputations.