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Is globalization ever good?

I’ve never been a fan of globalisation.
I like the differences in people and places.
I like to get off the plane and know I’m in a foreign country.
Years ago, we were going to emigrate to Australia.
I’d just seen Nicolas Roeg’s film ‘Walkabout’.
Australia looked like the most foreign, exotic country on earth.
So my wife and I went to see for ourselves.
We flew over Europe.
France, Germany, Italy, the Renaissance and centuries of turbulent history.
We flew over the Middle East.
We could see oil wells blazing below and imagine men in flowing robes leading camel trains.
We flew over India.

Thousands of years of Hinduism, Buddhism and spiritual enlightenment.
We flew over South East Asia.
Historic, exotic, civilisations, older than anything in the west.
Then eventually the plane landed and we got off in England.
I expected kangaroos hopping round the wheels as we taxied.
I was so disappointed.
I’d flown over the most exotic countries in the world to get to the farthest point away.
And where we landed was just like the country I’d just left.
What was the point?
The Aussies were great of course.
Really nice, friendly blokes.
They ferried us around in Rolls Royces and Porsches.
Exactly the same as you’d find in London.
They took us to Michelin starred restaurants.
Exactly the same as you’d find in London.
They took us to cocktail bars with loud music and trendy people.
Exactly the same as you’d find in London.
But I didn’t want London, I wanted Australia.
And this wasn’t the Australia I had in my head.
It was international, globalised.
Classic advertising mistake, it had given up its point of difference.
I was discussing this with Martin George, who runs BUPA.
He was telling me that BUPA is known under different names in different countries.
He was wondering whether they should have the one brand, BUPA, worldwide.
I said I didn’t see the point.
I said “Give me a reason why BUPA would be better with one name worldwide.”
And he gave me the first great reason I’ve heard for globalisation.
He said, in Spain, BUPA is known under another name, Sanitas.
And Sanitas are the official sports health provider for Real Madrid.
That was all he had to say.
The rest instantly fills itself in.
Real Madrid are the biggest, richest, most famous, most successful football club of all time.
And they have the most expensive footballers in the world.
Los Galacticos.
They must have the absolute finest medical services available, to take care of these precious resources.
Money is no object, and who do they choose?
They choose Sanitas (BUPA).
And that on its own, is a great reason for the globalisation of BUPA’s identity.
To make sure that every man worldwide knows that Real Madrid chooses BUPA to look after their stars.
Suddenly every man would know which is the best medical service in the world.
And he’d know why it’s worth paying more for.
It must be the absolute pinnacle of medical services.
The biggest club in the world wouldn’t risk Los Galacticos with anyone else.
And that’s the first time I’ve heard a great argument for globalisation.
Because that argument is not just about corporate neatness for the client.
It’s about what it means to the individual consumer.

First appeared on Dave Trott’s blog

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