But "light bulb" is no longer synonymous with GE (General Electric), because two months ago, the company announced the sale of its storied lighting business. According to The New York Times, "For nearly 130 years, G.E. Lighting was at the forefront of every major lighting innovation, from the dawn of incandescent bulbs to the first energy-saving fluorescent bulb, introduced in 1974, according to the company. But the business began to dwindle with the proliferation of LEDs, which need to be replaced less frequently because they are longer-lasting and more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lights."
Paul Israel, director and general editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University told The Times, “From the standpoint of people who associate the light bulb as the symbol of modern invention and innovation, there’s a kind of sadness to the fact that G.E., which for many years was at the forefront of that industry, has moved away from it."
What lesson can be gleaned from GE's financial move? Brands need to stay current and vibrant and keep up with changing times. Even when it means leaving behind a lasting brand legacy, difficult decisions must be made. Still, as Mr. Israel suggests, it is sad to see a brand being forced to sell off a product for which it has been known for generations.
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