Ethos Pathos and Logos, and How Important They are for Promoting Your Business

A brand is actually a very vague concept. It’s not practical for any business to fully cultivate its brand. Companies these days need to differentiate themselves from their competitors in terms of their branding. It’s not enough for them to have competitive prices for their products, or even to have the best-featured products that stand out from others. They need to develop the right feeling in their prospects by using emotion and personality-focused marketing campaigns. This is how niche markets are created, and this is exactly where ethos pathos and logos come in.

Ethos, pathos, logos make up a rhetorical triangle. The purpose of each of these is to persuade customers. Let’s look into each one of these one by one.

What is Ethos?

While a company might use different tactics and competitor analysis to have an edge over competitors, the core identity that makes it unique is it's called ‘brand ethos’.

Ethos pathos and logos are intangible concepts. The ethos of a company or brand is what distinguishes it from others through factors that enable its customers to relate to the brand on an emotional level.

Some companies and their products are highly technical, some are very professional or forward-thinking, while others are focused on delivering a welcoming experience and exceptional service. The kind of service that a company delivers dictates the real essence of it, and that’s what the company’s ethos is all about.

The ethos of a company can be used as the benchmark, or in other words, as it is ground zero’ for the rest of its marketing strategies. It acts as the heart or the inner meaning of the company, based on which the company’s logo, campaigns, and taglines can be designed. This is how companies with great slogans come up with their taglines and one-liners.

The ethos of a company establishes its authority to represent specific concepts through its products. Some ethos examples could be the following.

Example of Ethos

  • “As a doctor, I can tell you with my experience that this line of treatment is going to generate the best results for you.”
  • “Our expertise in the field of roof contracting is witnessed by over 90,000 customers across the globe. The quality of our service is evidenced by our 50 years of service, delivered by our team of qualified technicians, and testified by thousands of our satisfied customers.”
  • “If my age is not convincing enough for you, you might want to think that being your grandfather, I would definitely want the best for you.”

The above ethos examples should suffice for you to understand the basis of ethos pathos and logos.

What is Pathos?

When a company truly knows how to captivate the audience, it is able to create logical arguments wrapped up in a dose of emotion, to come up with persuasive marketing campaigns. That dose of emotion is referred to as the ‘pathos’. Pathos is part of a company’s ‘ethos, pathos, logos’ appeal.

Pathos can be invoked in many different ways. In some campaigns, a company might invoke pathos by admitting to a mistake. This method puts your opponents a little bit off balance.

Another way to invoke pathos is through a process called aposiopesis. Aposiopesis means suddenly cutting off your argument as if you lost your words or are out of words. This style tends to suddenly turn around a sentence’s meaning and make it easier for the listener to remember it. Aposiopesis is persuasive because it gives pleasure to the listener. It is the most persuasive part of ethos pathos and logos.

The next way to invoke pathos is through fun and laughter. A well-received joke helps you to connect with your audience and activates the pathos appeal. Jokes can not only perk up a drowsing listener but can stir up their emotions to convert them into laughter.

Screenshot of Strikingly user's website using light humour in its tagline

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

The pathos of a company contributes to its ethos appeal. Ethos pathos and logos are interrelated like a rhetorical triangle.

What is Ethos, Pathos, Logos?

Ethos pathos and logos together form the structure of great speech. In business terminology, ethos, pathos, logos make up the correct formula for effective or persuasive marketing content. It helps businesses to grow if they apply this formula to come up with a marketing plan that works.

In other words, ethos pathos and logos are the most effective way to persuade your audience through your advertisements. When used together as a rhetorical triangle, these form a compelling argument, speech, sales copy, or sales pitch that your customers cannot resist or deny.

Using Ethos Pathos and Logos in Advertisements

Advertisements work best if businesses use ethos pathos and logos in them. The slogan of an ad sounds complete and inspiring if it’s created with the concept of ethos, pathos, logos. Using these in an ad is like keying in on each mode of persuasion for the campaign so that it leads to the maximum number of conversions. Another way to increase the value of your ads, for instance, is cross-selling.

Let’s discuss a few ways in which businesses can use the rhetorical triangle of ethos, pathos, logos in their ads. These ads are not just effective because of the words used in them. There are a lot of strategies involved that keep consumers engaged with them. A major strategy though is the use of all three of these combined.

1. Amplification Hypothesis

When either complete confidence or total skepticism is presented in an ad’s idea, the concept is called the amplification hypothesis. The concept is that when your message comes from such an extreme angle, people would think that you know what you’re talking about. Using ethos pathos and logos in an ad combined with the amplification hypothesis works wonders to persuade the audience.

2. Information Manipulation Theory

When you intentionally break a conversational rule to make a profound impact on the audience, you use the information manipulation theory to persuade people through your ad. This is usually done when you:

  • Do not have all the facts,
  • Might have inaccurate information,
  • The info that you have is not fully relevant, or
  • It’s not easy to express the info.

Screenshot of Strikingly user's website showing information manipulation theory used in its tagline

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

3. Conversion Theory

Sometimes, the minority in your audience has a disproportionate effect on the majority. That’s when you can use ethos pathos and logos in combination with the ‘stand out from the crowd’ tagline in your ads. This will help you to persuade those who want to feel unique.

Screenshot of Strikingly user's website showing conversion theory used in its tagline

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

4. Priming

Priming refers to triggering people’s emotions by bringing their attention to specific phrases or words. This is similar to a magician asking his audience to look at one hand while performing a trick with the other hand. An ethos pathos and logos advertisement is more persuasive when used with priming.

5. Scarcity Principle

Using the scarcity principle means acting as though your products or services are short in supply. Coming from a supply-scarcity perspective and using ethos, pathos, logos advertisements is the secret to high campaign conversion rates.

6. Social Influence

Most people want to fit in the crowd. If your logos advertisement grows in social influence, it will be easier for you to persuade the mass audience to buy your products. After all, nobody wants to be left behind. One can enhance the social influence by using tactics like using an Instagram story to promote your products.

7. Sleeper Effect

When information is gathered from sources that don’t have much influence, it sometimes has a lasting impact if used in combination with ethos pathos, and logos. This is called the sleeper effect.

8. Weasel Words

Weasel words sound good but don’t force anyone to prove anything or be convinced of anything. For example, a soap manufacturing company can use the tagline, ‘Soap that makes you practically bacteria-free!’ Such phrases usually have an ethos pathos and logos effect, i.e. they convey the message clearly while triggering strong emotions in the audience.

Screenshot of Strikingly user's website showing weasel words used in its tagline

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

9. Magic Ingredients

Using ethos pathos and logos as magic ingredients in an advertisement is like making people feel like you have the magic key that will open the door to solutions to the problem they have at hand. An example could be a company selling sugar-free cookies that taste just as good as any other ordinary cookies but claim to help weight loss. Magic ingredients help you produce a sales copy that sells.

Screenshot of Strikingly user's website showing magic ingredients used in its tagline

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

10. Patriotism

Ethos, pathos, logos can also be used to trigger feelings of patriotism in the audience. For example, when your ad makes your audience feel like buying your product, it would show that they love their country. For example, when a company brags about its product is ‘Made in America’ or ‘Made in Australia’, it uses ethos pathos and logos to evoke patriotism in its customers.

To develop creative advertisement taglines and slogans and make use of ethos, pathos, and logos properly, you’d need to have flexibility in your marketing campaigns. This means you might need to change your content or copy every time you want to change the perspective of your ad. Hence, your business must have an online presence on a platform where it’s easy to edit the content whenever needed.

If you build your company’s website in Strikingly, you can easily edit the text on your site without changing the code.