Knowing when to use better vs different comparisons, or apples to apples vs. apples to 8-balls, is knowing how to market for market share. It’s also how, as consumers of products and information, we can understand how we are being marketed to. Let’s get critical.
If you want to make a comparison, talk about how something is better.
Better is all about making an “apples to apples” answer for the question at hand.
If you’re defending your position and have an obvious advantage (ex. “We’re cheaper,” “We perform better,” “We are so clearly smarter in xyz ways”) this can be a good strategy.
A company might talk about how much more liquid their paper towels absorb than their competition’s, and a politician might talk about how they represent their party’s values the most clearly.
Apples to apples acknowledge the sameness of the product at hand and redirects our attention to a marginal advantage.
If you want to force a choice, talk about how something is different.
Different is all about making an “apples to 8-balls” answer for the question at hand. While both are roughly round, they are obviously something entirely different. One keeps the doctor away, the other predicts the future.*
If you’re attacking someone with a greater market share, the biggest opportunity is to create a new market. A direct comparison against anything with more resources than you is always a risk. But forcing a choice between an old market and a blue sky of new opportunity – you can get the old market’s attention if you frame it correctly (ex. Airbnb never called itself a hotel, Netflix asked what the point of physical locations or limited selection even was, and Tesla makes the public mission about abandoning gas for cars).
A company competing against paper towels will make its mission about not being made of paper and/or saving the planet. Different is about bigger and, extra 8-ball, a new potential future.
Apples to 8-balls acknowledges the difference in the product at hand and redirect our attention to a more desirable and discernably different future.
Is it apples to apples OR apples to 8-balls? Better makes a comparison. Different forces a choice.
Just about everything is being presented to you in these ways.
Ps. notice how I didn’t bring up politicians in the different example? In the US, they pretty much have to go back to the 2-party system so they can’t quite achieve new market status. I call this apples vs. oranges. We talk about this on the Breaking News YouTube channel if you’re interested, or see this older post too.
*other 8-ball variations are on you today, ok?