Companies all over the World are looking for a competitive edge. One of the easiest ways to create that edge is to define your company in the eyes of the consumer. Ideally, you want to define your company as synonymous with your product.

An easy example of a company being synonymous with their product is Band-Aid. In most instances, whether you are buying Elastoplast, Home Brand or any other brand “plaster”, you and your friends will most likely still refer to it as a Band-Aid. Back when I was growing up, people in my hometown referred to refrigerators as frigidaires. Frigidaire was a company that manufactured refrigerators, but it had become synonymous with the product. Our fridge was actually a Kenmore, but we still referred to it as a frigidaire.

What’s the most likely company you think of when you think of running shoes? The odds are that you thought of Nike.

One of the best ways to become synonymous with a product is through the skillful use of customer feedback.

First off, don’t just be satisfied with just customer feedback, go beyond that and start searching social media for opinions about your competition.

You must first identify your competition and to do that, you must know your target market. Who are the people that you are selling to or want to sell to? These are the people whose feedback you are looking for. What’s important to them? What gripes do they have about the companies they are buying from now? What do they like about those companies? What company is top of the heap and what are people saying about it on social media?

Knowing what makes your competition attractive will often give you a lever that you can use to attract people to your company. Not by imitation, but by re-imagining what people like in a different way. Companies win by addressing customer values, needs and expectations in a unique way that can be as much a brand signature as any logo.

Customer Feedback also helps you identify your customers. Here are some questions that feedback should answer.
– How old are my average customers?
– Are the majority of my customers male or female?
– Where do my customers live?
– What percentage of my customers are repeat and why?
– What motivates the majority of my customers? Is it price, quality, convenience or what?
– What services or products are my customers willing to spend more on?
– What services or products do they want to spend less on?

You should not only ask these questions about your own customers, but the competitions customers as well.

Feedback also gives you a way to stay ahead of changes in the market. If feedback is telling you that people’s tastes or needs are changing, then you have a chance to get out in front and lead the crowd with a new product or service.

Ideally, there should be at least one person in your company who’s job it is to study the market and collect feedback from as many sources as possible.