@Cafe41 - I used to work supporting a brand manager and my favorite aspect of working in the department was doing competitive analysis. Learning about what are competitors were doing and the market share that they had as opposed to what we had was really motivating.
It was like a benchmark that told you how close the competitor was getting. We always analyzed our advertising campaigns as well as our competitors and after a while you do develop insight as to what a customer would want. It is really a field for very creative people.
I think that when you work in this field long enough you develop instincts for creating the right product image.