Here at Euro RSCG Discovery, we focus heavily on new technology and digital techniques to help our Clients grow their business and brands. Trust me when I say how much we love this—especially all the gadgets, gizmos and cool techie stuff we get to play with on a daily basis. It’s just plain fun.
But there is another side to our agency that is of great—and some may say greater—importance to the success of our work, and that is intelligent customer engagement. (Look, we even say so on our new website.) That basic idea of advertising is one that can be sometimes overlooked and over complicated, by the great, new technology we love and want to use.
When I am working with Clients and thinking about how to best engage their audience, I am always taken back to high school Philosophy class. It was there that I first learned of Aristotle’s writing on Rhetoric. He defined rhetoric as, “…the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.” He wrote this in the context of a speaker persuading his/her audience, but we can certainly apply it to marketing. Noted below are the three modes of persuasion, terms you may have heard before:
Ethos – Appeal based on your credibility or reputation
Pathos – Appeal based on emotion
Logos – Appeal based on logic, reasoning or facts
(If you wish to read the whole writing, you can go here.)
Aristotle stated, “The first kind (ethos) depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second (pathos) on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third (logos) on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.”
When developing a strategy for a Client, pitching a new idea to your boss, or simply asking a friend for money, you should ask yourself three questions based on those modes of persuasion learned in high school. Why should the audience trust what we are saying? How do we get them to care? What do we have to back it up?
Let’s pretend we are selling flea collars for pets. How can we persuade someone to buy our product?
First is ethos, or our credibility. “We are ABC Collars and we have been making flea collars for over thirty years.”
Next is pathos, or our appeal to emotion. “ABC Collars is a family-owned business that puts pets first—in fact, our pets are our family. If it’s not good enough for our family pets, it’s not good enough for yours.”
Last is logos, or our appeal to reason or logic. “In 2010 a consumer report rated our flea collar #1 at eliminating fleas from household pets, according to 10,000 pet owners polled.”
You may have already learned from Siri that Aristotle wrote Rhetoric in 350 BC. And while it may have been written back before animated GIFs on your homepage were trendy, the art of persuasion is still just as relevant today. Would you consider this common sense? Marketing 101? Sure! But this is why it is important to not be distracted by the shiny new object when crafting a plan or strategy.
So while Siri, and all the other new technology may be the icing on your advertising cake, it’s all the ingredients of that advertising cake together (your ethos, pathos and logos) that will connect with your customers most, and make them come back for more.