Aristotle, the Modern Day Marketer

For a guy born in the B.C. era, Aristotle would have done a heck of a job marketing to today’s consumers.

Over 2000 years ago, he developed what he called “the three artistic proofs” to make a clear and persuasive case. Now—when storytelling and emotional connections to customers are as important as ever—those proofs can be used to develop better products, claims, packages, and ads. They are

  • Ethos (character of the speaker / brand)
  • Pathos (emotional connection)
  • Logos (logic and reason to believe)

Or, as he puts it

The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.

Powerful stuff. Below, I’ve put together a few notes on how I think ethos, pathos, and logos relate to the research world when testing a new product or ad. Then, we provide a few example questions for both qualitative and quantitative studies.

Ethos (Character):

This is closely related to equity. The stronger the brand’s reputation, the more likely someone will listen. Think about testing a few equity measures, like brand recall and brand fit, as well as the credibility and trust behind it all.

Let’s take brand fit for example.

 

IRG Respondent

Quant — Please select your agreement or disagreement with the following statement: This product fits with my existing view of the ____ brand.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Somewhat Agree
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree
  • Somewhat Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
IRG Respondent

Qual — How (if at all) does your opinion of the ____ brand change after viewing this product? Please provide specific words/phrases/images from this product that make you feel that way based on your own personal experiences.

Pathos (Emotion):

There aren’t many things that are more powerful than a compelling story. But in order to be compelling, it needs to be clear, memorable, and relevant to the target audience’s personal values. The goal is to get your audience to feel how you want them to feel.

IRG Respondent

Quant — Please select your agreement or disagreement with the following statement: This product is for someone like me.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Somewhat Agree
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree
  • Somewhat Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
IRG Respondent

Qual — What type of person do you think this product is design for? Please describe that person in as much detail as you can, including things like age, family status, and what he or she likes to do in their free time.

Side note… Qual studies tend to be great for exploring how to improve the emotional connection. We often include interactive exercises online, like having respondents upload images of how they feel after viewing a product or ad. Qual is also great for gathering personal stories and creating a voice for the consumer.

Logos (Logic):

We all need a reason to believe. This is where metrics like believability or perceived use can come in handy because you’re trying to prove that the product or ad will do what it says it will.

IRG Respondent

Quant — Please select your agreement or disagreement with the following statement: I believe this product will deliver on the claims as promised.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Somewhat Agree
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree
  • Somewhat Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
IRG Respondent

Qual — What specific areas, if any, were unclear to you or left you with questions? In your response, please describe any aspects that seem far-fetched, confusing, or cause you to feel skeptical.

Remember that the above are only examples, rather than some sort of “Agile Aristotle” framework that is asked every time. Our metrics are always designed around your specific key questions and business objectives, so these sample questions are to get us all thinking about what ethos, pathos, and logos mean for marketing, and how you can test certain things both qualitatively and quantitatively.

And on that note, for some helpful guidelines and tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your qualitative and quantitative research, download our complimentary Quant + Qual eGuide.

 

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