You’ve got a product you want to sell. Or a reasonable argument you want to convey to your audience. Or even an idea you want to get across to people through a speech. You need to leverage the power of Ethos.

Everything seems good, except you don’t know how to get your point or offer across without looking suspicious.

You are stuck — you can’t get your appeal or message out to an audience. And even if they see it, they are too hesitant to act, or at the very least, hear what you have to say.

Do you know why that is?

Ethos – Introduction

Here’s the problem: you lack credibility, my friend. You are new to an audience and they don’t yet know you.

You lack authenticity. How can they trust you when you haven’t proven your reliability yet.

This might sound like a modern conundrum, but even so, it has already been addressed by the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle.


He discovered the three modes of persuasion: pathos, ethos, and logos, and out of them, Ethos is the one that solves the issue we’re discussing here.

It helps you come off as credible to your audience, and most importantly, you won’t look ‘scammy.’

Who would want to look scammy anyway?

Here’s our breakdown of ethos, pathos, logos and what each one means:

In this article, I’m going to tell you all you need to know about Ethos. In the end, you will have in-depth knowledge of the concept.

Not only that, but you will also have a firm grasp of the technique, which will help you use it without much hassle.


What Is Ethos?

Ethos is the persuasive technique that compels people through credibility. It establishes reliability, which is a crucial part of long-term growth for your business.

Contrary to the other 2 persuasive techniques, ethos is all about showing who has used your product, how those people have used it, and how they have found it helpful.

People are more likely to trust other people as personal recommendations, whether it’s from a close friend or a public figure in your ad.


That’s all ethos is about: gain credibility by proving you are reliable and honest. Only then will you increase your persuasion with this strategy.



What Is Ethos?

Ethos is a Greek word that can be used to describe the character of a person or an idea and is used prominently in the world of brand commercials and advertising.

Ethos is important for persuasion because it builds trust and credibility in what someone says.

When someone talks about their personal story, they are using their own ethos to persuade people that they know what they are talking about.

Even if someone’s credentials aren’t impressive when people tell their story with conviction and passion it will build more credibility than any education or title could ever do alone.



Ethos is the third and final pillar in Aristotle’s Rhetoric. In his work, he defines it as a speaker’s ‘character.’

While this may seem like an odd way to define such a thing, or at least not something we should be concerned with today, Aristotle was actually on to something when he made this connection because the modern definition of Ethos has been equated with credibility for centuries now.

Understanding The Other Persuasive Techniques

For your advertisement to be more convincing, ethos must be used alongside the other persuasive techniques.

None is greater than the other, so a perfect balance of the three elements would be more ideal.

Here are their explanations put in a few words:


This element focuses on people’s emotions to persuade them to buy your product or follow your idea. The emotions can be negative or positive — the results they bring are the same.

This mode of persuasion is effective because we, humans, are driven by our feelings.

That’s why you should sympathize with people’s emotions — they will most likely trust you, which is how you persuade them.


This technique compels people through logic and reasoning, and that’s why it’s called the logical appeal.

It uses charts, graphs, statistics, and facts to appeal more genuinely to an audience.

As humans, we are wired to act on what corresponds well with our logic. We are too unwilling to accept something that’s not backed up with concrete evidence.

That’s why there is logos — it proves that your product or appeal is factual.

As a result, logos helps you to become more authoritative in your advertising.

what is ethos

Why You Need Ethos In Your Advertising

Whether you are a fan of social proof or not, ethos is a crucial element you should use to succeed in advertising.

It’s a simple truth because here is the thing: people these days buy with extreme caution.

They don’t purchase a product after they see it being advertised. They want to know if it’s credible first.

The same applies to speeches and anything related to that. People can’t agree with an argument or an idea if they don’t know who you are.

That’s why you need ethos — it improves your persuasiveness by leaps and bounds.

What is Ethos

Here are some benefits of this persuasive appeal:

Ethos Makes You More Credible And Authentic

As I mentioned before: ethos makes you come off as more credible to people.

Nowadays, there is something that people fear a lot, something that’s more likely to happen with businesses that don’t have credibility. I’m certain you know what that is.

It’s getting scammed.

A lot of scams are coming around by the day, and strangely enough, a great many people are falling for them too.

They are getting smarter and trickier by the day. Because of that, it’s difficult to point out what’s real or fake.

That’s why many people are getting more skeptical to purchase something from an unknown brand.

Even if your services are genuine, they won’t buy from you right away.

People are afraid of falling into future problems with you — it may be bad shipping, poor quality, or issues of a similar kind.

But with ethos, you can get past this effortlessly. If you use this persuasive technique wisely, you won’t look fraudulent to people.

You will become more genuine and serious.


Ethos Unlocks People’s Trust

It’s no secret that gaining people’s trust is such a pain. Winning them over to you is no easy task.

People won’t give their trust over to you unless you prove you are authentic and are worthy to listen to.

You can’t blame them; it’s natural to be suspicious before making a big decision like buying.

If it were you, I’m sure you would do the same. Would you give over your trust to a brand that’s not authentic enough?

Of course not — you wouldn’t open your wallet for that.

That’s why there is the ethos persuasive appeal — it helps you overcome that issue.

Nothing unlocks people’s trust better than ethos. This element is the best when it comes to this.

That’s why you should use it more often. You will become trustworthy, and also, people won’t take you for granted.

How To Use Ethos In Your Commercials And Ads?

You have got a glimpse of what ethos can bring to the table. Seeing the benefits that it can give to your brand, it would be wise to use it in your advertising more often.

Well, you must use it every time you make an ad, commercial, and even a speech.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can use ethos. All of them are productive, and they can bring about good results.

Are you ready to start exploiting this persuasive appeal for increased persuasion?

Here are ways you can use it:

Public Figure Endorsements

This method is the surefire way to gain more credibility, yet many companies — especially small ones — neglect it.

Here is the thing: customers are more likely to follow the lead of a well-known person. Not only will they know that the product is genuine, but they will also be assured that it is of high quality.

Some businesses neglect this strategy because they are reluctant to pay the endorsement fee. But believe me when I tell you this: you won’t be losing money.

You will lose money for that time only, but in the long term, the profits you make from that ad will far exceed the amount you pay.

Therefore, consider it an investment.

So go ahead, find a celebrity who can promote your product. Well-known public figures are most ideal, but they aren’t your only options. You can use local businessmen, well-known college professors, etc.

It doesn’t only have to be someone who is super popular, but it has to be someone decent enough to be associated with your brand.

Use Testimonials And Reviews

According to Spiegel, 95% of consumers will read a brand’s reviews before buying its products. 95% is no joke.

Testimonials have been used to establish credibility for a while now, and they are here to stay forever. That’s the truth, their effectiveness can’t be questioned.

Real people will be praising your brand. Customers trust other customers, and if they see a testimonial, they will regard it as a personal recommendation.

That’s why you need them for your marketing strategy.

But when you put your testimonials, make sure they aren’t the generic ones like these:

  • X is great to work with.
  • I had a good relationship with X. Highly recommended.
  • X provides the best service.

In this day and age, you shouldn’t showcase these in your advertising. They may be real, but if they are the only ones you display, people may assume you are a scam.

That’s because there are scams indeed, and they show similar reviews on their advertisements. And even if you aren’t a scam, people may assume your reviews are made up.

So, how exactly do you appear more genuine in your testimonials?

It’s simple; use reviews that are in-depth and show how your offer helped your customers. Ask your clients to give you such testimonials.

If possible, ask them to include actual statistics on how their lives or businesses were improved, for instance, numbers and percentages.

The testimonials must have customer photos on them to make sure they aren’t bots. To make it even better, use photo and video reviews. They are way more effective than regular text-only ones.

How Brands Use Ethos

When it comes to gaining credibility by using ethos, big brands do it well. They know ethos is the ideal way to grow, and that’s why they use it more often.

An example of such companies is Pepsi. If you have ever seen its commercials, I’m certain you have noticed it uses public figure endorsements a lot.

It uses many celebrities in its ads, and one of them is Lionel Messi. This guy is super popular and has a huge fanbase, not only around football fans but also those who don’t have an idea about soccer.

Because of this, Pepsi comes off not merely as reliable, but also as a supreme quality brand in people’s eyes.

Well, Pepsi has been doing this right for several years now. Back during the 80s, the popular company was endorsed by the late pop star, Michael Jackson. Everybody knew the guy back then, he was super popular and also loved.

Seeing that Michael Jackson endorsed Pepsi, helped the brand overcome the common objection of poor quality and give an impression of reliability.

When it comes to the testimonials side, an example of a company that does it well is Hubspot.

This company sells marketing, sales, and service software. If you go to its website, you will see a ton of testimonials there, and they all are on point.

They are specific, show how the client’s business was improved, and also include actual statistics like percentages.

That’s great; if you visit its website in need of its services, undoubtedly, it will seem authentic to you.

Ethos – Final Thoughts

You have got all you need to know about ethos. So get started with it— use it in your advertising more often.

For best results, use both methods: public figure endorsements and testimonials. People will notice that and undoubtedly, they will trust your brand.

And remember, nothing unlocks people’s trust better than ethos does. You need that trust to succeed in business.

So use ethos starting from now. With it, your persuasion will take off to a whole new level.