Like me, most automobile drivers might find GPS navigation systems more useful to reach a particular place rather than to find the way to the general area in which the place is located, for example, 98 Meridian Place rather than Docklands in London. Similarly, when they’re driving from one city to another, they might be able to reach a city (say, London) with minimal use of GPS whereas they’d find the gadget indispensable in finding the way to a specific area (e.g. Docklands) within the city. The same holds good with maps of public transport systems, especially when it comes to tubes that run below the ground most of the time, thus leaving their commuters with very little sense of the area surrounding the destination station.
From these examples, it seems evident that directions for the proverbial “last mile” leading up to a particular place are more important than those for the earlier part of a journey. Then, how come when you ask people for directions, many of them ask you, “where are you coming from?” Is it because giving directions is an art, which only a minority of people has mastered?
Whenever someone wants to know where I’d be coming from before they begin to give me directions to their office or home, I suspect that I’ve encountered the majority. I renew my search for the rare person who knows, like the Cheshire-Cat in Alice in Wonderland, that the route to anywhere really “depends upon where you want to go” and can start giving directions by anchoring the destination by relating it to landmarks that anyone would know in its vicinity.
If only the staff attached to India’s Finance Minister had kept this in mind, the honorable minister wouldn’t have landed up in the wrong Trident hotel located in (a placed called) Nariman Point in Bombay / Mumbai, some two hours away from the newly built Trident hotel in (another place called) BKC the inauguration ceremony of which he was to attend last month! Maybe, like street addresses that begin with the door number (e.g. 98 Meridian Place), then go on to the area (Docklands) before finally mentioning the city (London), hotels should also mention the area first viz. call it BKC Trident instead of Trident BKC? In case brand managers fear that such a change in the naming convention might lead to a relegation of their brands, I refer them to this article in the Economic Times, which holds that the Trident incident “must be seen as a pitfall of overbranding by hotels”.