Everyone knows that Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb. Except that he didn’t.

Thomas Edison did not create the first electric light bulb. At least 20 other people had built one before him. What Edison did do was create the best electric light bulb. One that was safe, cheap, long-lasting and convenient to use. He looked at the bulbs that had already been prototyped. He saw what worked well and where the barriers to widespread adoption lay.

Then he filed a patent, in 1878, titled Improvement In Electric Lights. It introduced a bulb with a superior vacuum and a carbonised bamboo filament. The filament in particular was key. It could burn for 1,200 hours and it had the high resistance needed to enable the power distribution system that made the bulb commercially viable and which would evolve to become the electric utility grid we use today. Its success helped Edison found the General Electric Company, still one of the world’s largest and most successful businesses, more than 120 years later.

Edison’s achievements were based on intelligence and knowledge – and not just his own. He knew how his competitors’ products worked. He understood what the public wanted from them. He was able to build on their strengths and design out their weaknesses to create a product that worked. And a product that sold.

But that was all a long time ago.

Today’s new products are far harder to break down into their component parts, their ingredients and their manufacturing processes. And today’s consumers are far more complex in their requirements, preferences and demands. The Thomas Edison of today would find it impossible to gain the edge he enjoyed in 1878 working alone.

The Thomas Edison of today would need Mintel Purchase Intelligence.

Mintel Purchase Intelligence is the ultimate product intelligence service. It tracks new launches in all US food and drink categories. It serves up detailed data on their ingredients, innovations, promotion and packaging. It gauges consumer reaction, from what they think to whether they would purchase. And it asks them why.

That’s a uniquely powerful combination of competitive intelligence and consumer insight. The power of Mintel’s world-leading Global New Products Database (GNPD) paired with the insight of the most comprehensive ongoing study of consumer perception and intention to buy ever produced in the US.

It can uncover the trends to follow and the white space to hit. It can offer proof of concept or a health check for your market and brand. It can guide your product positioning and your retail planning. It can help you invent. It can help you improve. It can help you differentiate. Just like Thomas Edison did.

Above all, it can make you the best.

Mintel Purchase Intelligence. It’s time for your light bulb moment too.

Grant Westbrook is Mintel’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing. Along with his team, he looks after all of Mintel’s marketing and communications. He has over 20 years experience in commercial and marketing roles.

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