Ethos. Pathos. Logos. Aristotle. And an elephant.
April 12 | 2016
News | Education
How do you market to your audience when 85% of them are illiterate? Traveling in rural India this past January, we saw this logo hand-stenciled wherever a bare white wall beckoned (labor is cheaper than printing in India). Can you guess the product?
It’s the trademark of a cement company. What struck us was the visceral – and instant – message it conveyed. In India, elephants carrying heavy loads are still common (watch this video of one them stealing my money!). They have ties to bygone Indian royalty when powerful rulers rode them. And they symbolize strength, fidelity, trustworthiness.
Cement is also strong. OK, I get it.
And that leads us to Ethos, Pathosand Logos. Aristotle coined these words as the three modes of persuasion to convince audiences.
ETHOSis the ethical appeal, and persuades based on the author’s credibility.
PATHOSis the emotional appeal, making your audience happy or aspire to something.
LOGOS– well, we all know what a logo is. But in Greek, its meaning is broader: “that by which the inward thought is expressed.”
So what does Greek philosophy have to do with that elephant logo?
In it, we see all three building blocks. The elephant is our ethical spokesman (ethos), backed by centuries of history. It evokes pathosthat’s in India’s national DNA – industrious, strong and steadfast. And the logoworks to convey it in a way beyond words.
You see, like all great logos (and brands, for that matter), it connects all the elements. And that means it connects with the audience.
(Check out more pictures below of our trip. In a country of 1.2 billion people, everything competes for attention. That's why bold graphics – the basic language of our industry – are everywhere.)