Ethos, Pathos, and Logos are modes of persuasion. Most TV commercials, sales copy, and speeches use these three factors to invoke an action.
The idea of these three advertising techniques was first created by a Greek philosopher and writer named Aristotle, somewhere around 2000 years ago.
So yeah, they have been around for a while, and their persuasiveness has never slowed down during that period
Aristotle grouped them into three categories — ethos, pathos, and logos. The single name for them all is the Rhetorical Triangle.
Professional copywriters still use them to sell their products, ideas, or to simply compel people to act on something through their writing.
Aristotle would be proud!
With that in mind, you know that their effectiveness is rooted in a long history of advertising and marketing success. And we’re about to tell you why!
But, first, here’s that triangle.
Ethos, Pathos, Logos – An Introduction
Great persuasive advertising must have all factors in perfect balance. If one element falls short, then your advertising will be less effective, and much less persuasive.
So, do you want to know further about the three ingredients of persuasive advertising?
I bet you would!
Here’s our breakdown of ethos, pathos, logos and what each one means:
This article will educate you about ethos, pathos, logos and show their strength as emotional writing (and other communication) devices.
We’ll also give a clear definition of each word and what they really mean from Aristotle’s POV and a modern perspective.
Not only that, but it will also show you how to apply them in your advertising for increased conversion rates. And, even better, we’ll use many an example throughout.
Below, we’ve put together a special infographic that you can use to remember the different techniques:
ETHOS, PATHOS, LOGOS
What Is Ethos, Pathos, Logos?
Ethos, Pathos, and Logos are three concepts that have been used for centuries to persuade an audience.
These rhetorical devices are often referred to as the ‘three pillars of persuasion.’
The first is Ethos, which means credibility or trustworthiness. You may also see it called ‘ethical appeal.’ This is when a writer speaks from personal experience to give an opinion on the subject matter.
Next is Pathos, which leverages an emotional response such as pity, anger, or fear.
Lastly, there’s Logos. This refers to the reasonableness or logic of the argument being made, in modern times this is best summed up as leveraging data and statistics in order to sell something.
What Are Modes of Persuasion?
Modes of persuasion are methods that one individual or group uses to try and influence the beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of another.
Persuasion is a powerful force in society – it can be used for good or bad.
Modes of persuasion are the ways in which a speaker can convince his audience to believe him. These methods include ethos, pathos, and logos.
Each mode is used for different occasions, so it’s important to know how each one works.
Modes of persuasion are the different strategies people use to convince others. There are many different means of persuasion, such as pathos, logos, and ethos.
Ethos is a type of persuasive strategy where someone tries to establish themselves as an authority on the topic at hand, while logos is where someone presents facts or evidence in order to persuade their audience that they’re correct.
These means of persuasion are closely linked to the particular character of the speaker.
What Is Character Of The Speaker?
Every person has a different personality and tone. The character of the speaker is determined by their mood, gestures, voice, and how they are perceived by others. In advertising terms, character of the speaker is the angle that an ad or commercial comes at the audience from.
In persuasion, this aspect is known as a logical appeal.
There are four major types of ‘speakers’ that can be found in ads and commercials: Dynamic Speaker (enthusiastic), Authoritative Speaker (expertise-based), Conversationalist Speaker (casual), and Quiet Speakers (who never speak up at all!)
As well as this aspect of the appeal, we should look at rhetorical appeals.
Everyone uses rhetorical appeals in their everyday lives, whether they are aware of it or not. They can be found in advertisements, speeches, and debates – the list goes on.
These persuasive techniques are used to encourage a person to do something that would benefit the persuader.
This kind of appeal is a form of emotional word use used in an attempt to convince the reader to agree with the writer’s opinion.
There are five different types of appeal: ethos, logos, pathos, sex, and humor. We are, of course, primarily covering ethos pathos here, as well as logos.
All of these methods are key to any logical appeal, but pathos, logos and ethos are critical.
What Is Ethos?
Ethos is one of the persuasive techniques of the rhetorical triangle. This technique is all about ethics and credibility.
Ethos is the Greek word for the intellectual and emotional character of a speaker. It’s what people often refer to as your honesty or your credibility.
What we’re talking about here is your ability to make someone believe you.
Getting Deeper With Ethos
Here’s the thing: if you advertise your brand on any channel, a few people will act on it, that is if you get lucky. It’s a truth we can’t neglect, not everyone will act on your ad.
Some people will see it, but without a second thought, they will brush it off.
They will do so because they don’t know the brand or anyone in the ad. And for that reason, they’re turned off.
So how do you deal with that?
Well, that’s where Ethos comes into play. As we said before, this element is all about authority.
You have to show your audience that you are genuine and more reliable than competing brands or products. Nobody wants to buy a product from a person or brand that’s unknown.
You can’t blame them because, as you know, there are a lot of scams everywhere these days.
If you are unknown, people will assume that you are one of those scammers. For that reason, they won’t buy the product or service being advertised.
It’s All Greek To Me
If any of these definitions seem a little tricky to get your head around and get a sense of what’s going on, don’t worry: you’re not alone.
We hope with our definitions we’re going to help remove some of Aristotle’s Greek and add a clearer sense of how to apply these techniques in modern terms.
How Is Ethos Used in Advertising & Marketing – Examples
In a world where we are constantly being bombarded by advertisements and marketing, it is easy to get lost in the sea of messages.
But how do companies know which message will work best for their audience?
The answer lies in understanding the meaning behind ethos: “the persuasive power of an argument.”
The use of ethos in advertising and marketing is a powerful tool. It’s what builds trust between the customer and company, which can lead to a stronger relationship that strengthens brand loyalty.
Ethos is the ability of an advertisement or marketing campaign to establish credibility with its audience by using sources such as experience, credentials, awards, testimonials from experts or authorities within the industry.
How To Apply Ethos In Your Ads And Commercials?
Now that you have seen how important Ethos is for your persuasive advertising, I’m certain you are dying to know how to apply it to your campaigns.
To make your persuasive advertising more trustworthy is a great way is to include public figures in it.
Famous people are seen as trustworthy and have the social proof that connects with everyday people.
If you let them endorse your product or idea, people will be more willing to listen to them. As a result, your persuasive advertising will bring you great results.
Let’s take for example a celebrity like Lionel Messi. If he promotes your product, what do you think will happen?
With the status that he has, people will follow his lead without hesitation. If you do so, your persuasive advertising will improve a lot.
If you lack credibility, a public figure will help you get noticed.
The Kit Kat ad below is a great example of ethos:
Another method you can use to boost your credibility is to relate with your audience. If you show your audience that you understand them and their problems, your credibility will increase.
You’ll be viewed as very much qualified to create a sense of what your audience’s desires, hopes and dreams are.
Better yet, if you put yourself in their shoes and show them that you have been where they are before, your advertising will be even better.
What Is Pathos?
Pathos is yet another form of appeal used in modern-day advertising. Unlike the other two, this one compels an audience to act through emotions.
Pathos relies on emotion to connect with the audience. It’s often used in speeches and public speaking, but it can also be applied in writing & filmmaking.
Pathos is commonly associated with emotional appeals such as fear, guilt, pity or anger. And that’s our definition of Pathos.
We, humans, are programmed to act on how we feel — it’s how our brains were wired. Pathos, therefore, focuses on that for more effective persuasive advertising. It targets human emotions, for instance, love, fear, envy, and the likes.
How Is Pathos Used in Advertising & Marketing – Examples
Pathos is used to sway an audience by evoking their emotions and trying to create a connection with them.
This can be done through storytelling, sentimentality, or even creating fear. Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but we can’t try to battle many thousands of years of human evolution.
We see this all the time in advertising and marketing campaigns where companies try to tug at our heartstrings so that we want to buy their product because they are making us feel sad or remind us about a loved one who has passed on.
Pathos is not only used by advertisers and marketers but also in everyday life as we are constantly trying to relate with others through our emotions.
We use pathos to make people feel things when they watch a movie or read a book because this will cause them to form connections with characters and the storyline itself.
How To Use Pathos In Your Persuasive Marketing?
To be able to use pathos, you have to make sure you understand your audience inside and out.
Appeal to their senses, memories, or better yet, shared experiences. Nothing fascinates people more than showing them you have something in common, maybe a problem, experience, fear, ambition, or an interest.
Relate with their problems. Maybe it’s a failure, inability to use something, ruined relationships, or anything similar.
Also relate it to their interests, if possible — success, a love story, or anything else that can intrigue your audience.
If you do so, they will be emotionally connected to you, and as a result, they will trust you. When that happens, your persuasive advertising will be revving on all cylinders!
So always make sure you understand your audience first. To do so, research them and gather all the necessary information.
And when you are making your ad or commercial, use their language. There is no avoiding this — the tools they use to communicate are the most important thing here.
Do You Want To Know Why Language Is So Important?
Here’s the thing: the words we hear and speak are powerful. They have a hidden power that ignites action.
If you use the words that your audience regularly speaks or hears, you will be speaking directly to them in words they understand. For that reason, your ad persuasiveness will increase.
But, always make sure you use positive words. If you use negative ones or words that are offensive in any way, you will lose it.
Your audience will simply ignore your ad or commercial and move on. As a result, it won’t be as emotional as you expect it to be.
In fact, it will do the exact opposite — drive potential prospects away. You wouldn’t want that, right?
So use positive words. It’s that simple.
But understanding people’s problems and interests, and speaking to them in their language isn’t the only way to use pathos in your advertising. There are other ways of making your ad appealing with the pathos method.
One of them is humor.
Humor As A Logical Appeal
Who doesn’t like to smile or laugh for no reason at all?
Everybody does — a sense of reacting to humor is wired into all of us. If you use it, you will improve your audience’s mood.
It might even make their day.
But remember to use it wisely. You should use it in moderation because your goal isn’t to entertain: it’s to sell or motivate people to act on something.
If you amuse people too much, your ad will no longer be an ad, it will be some kind of comedy film.
Undoubtedly, humor is great, but limit your use of it for better logical and rhetoric-based advertising.
Pathos isn’t only limited to these: it broadens to other things like patriotism, nostalgia, and music. Yes, music plays a good role in ads and commercials.
What Is Logos?
Logos is a persuasive technique that convinces and compels your audience using logic and reasoning. This element uses a variety of factors — facts, charts, graphs, statistics, and the like.
The truth is, most people can’t trust a product unless it is backed up by proper evidence. They will be reluctant to buy or follow an idea if it isn’t supported by facts and logical reasoning that shows that it’s worth having.
Using Logic in Writing & Other Types Of Media
People won’t buy something if they don’t know if the product can solve their problem. That’s where statistics, surveys, and the like come into play. They are what make the element of Logos so effective.
When you include them in your commercial, ad, or sales copy, people will see you as a genuine source. If that happens, the rhetorical appeals in your advertising will have worked.
How Is Logos Used in Advertising & Marketing – Examples
The use of logos has been shown to be a powerful persuasive tool. It’s the reason why we are drawn to Coca-Cola, Nike, and Apple products when they are advertised on TV, all three of which are good examples.
They all have strong logos that represent the values of their company.
Logos persuasion is a type of persuasive communication that uses logos, or logic, to support their argument. Logos persuasion has been found in many different forms of media and advertising campaigns.
Another great example Apple Computer’s “Think Different” campaign which motivates consumers to think differently about the brand.
How To Use Logos In Your Persuasive Advertising?
If you want to increase persuasion in your ad, show how the product will help them.
On top of that, prove it to them with strong evidence. Give them facts and statistics about the product. If possible, use graphs and charts to make it better visually.
You will appear as an authority in your field. People are drawn to experts as they feel they will help them solve their problems for good. That would be ideal because it will also boost your credibility.
Moreover, present your product or idea’s benefits to your audience. This is on the logical reasoning scale of the Logos rhetoric.
To do that, you must first mention the potential problem that your audience might face.
After you have introduced it and agitated it, that’s when you will present your solution, along with the benefits that will solve the issue.
That way, you will be using logic, and that will help you sell your product or service.
Simply put, showcase to your audience the best reasons to buy. We see this in action everywhere.
Final Thoughts On Ethos, Pathos, And Logos
Here you have everything you need to know about the 3 rhetorical techniques. If you use them, they will improve your marketing and ads for the better.
Throughout this article, we’ve explained the strategies and given a definition of each.
We’ve also taken you on a short history from Aristotle to Steve Jobs and drilled home the point that reaching out to a prospect’s emotions really is the key to their heart (and pocketbook).
We’ve given you example after example of appeals to emotion being great ways to persuade, win an argument with logic, and ultimately convince people to buy or simply sway their emotions. These examples stand for themselves.
Combining pathos, logos and ethos together can be a super powerful combination. With three main appeals, you can persuade even the most staunch non-believer, as well as win almost any argument.
But remember this: whenever you create an ad, sales copy, or commercial, use the techniques that best apply to your prospects’ specific needs. Ethos is a great example of this.
And where you can’t persuade directly with the use of a personal word or two that your audience uses, leverage data to make your point.
This all requires solid research, of course, but it will be for the best. Still, you must include all three elements. By doing so, you will make your advertisement more persuasive and, quite frankly, downright irresistible.
Look, these techniques should be seen as a menu of tools that you can dip into. Whether you’re creating a promotional video, you’re the lead writer on a political speech, writing sales copy for an ad, or otherwise, engaging in any other form of convincing someone else.
So, whatever you’re creating from an advertising and marketing perspective, get out there and use ethos pathos and logos in your rhetoric.
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