A story of you, me and our modus operandi*

No, this is not about praising storytelling (not that I’m denying the value of the process and its merits for being praised). I want to tell you about persuasion. Have I lost you with that word? It sounds heavy, patronising and maybe even boring to some, but bare with me and I promise you’ll take something new from it, even if it’s just the video.

As a student for Marketing for almost 4 years now, persuasion has always been at the heart of the study as elements such as advertising, personal selling, direct marketing and so on as they have as objective to persuade a specific audience of something they have to buy, believe, act on, or just persuade them to listen. 

Put like that, marketing sounds like the evil trying to give you something you don’t need, but I like to assume that audiences are smart enough to think for themselves whether they believe an argument or not.

But I promised you a story so let’s go on. In my journey through university, I “met” Aristotel who talked about ethos, pathos and logos as appeals that construct persuasion.

  1. Ethos – the credibility of the speaker
  2. Pathos – the appeal to the emotions of the audience
  3. Logos – the appeal to reason by providing facts

All fair and square, but what does it have to do with you? It’s useful if you want to know how to capture an audience for your own presentation or product promotion, but also to reflect on what works for yourself. I’m the fairy godmother in the story so I’ll give you some examples to help.

First there is the 100 year old technique within marketing of showing someone not only how much work a product took to invent, but also how much care goes into the process of making each product. This is what Apple does and next time you’ll see one of their promotional launches think about it. By this method, they appeal to facts, your reason – they tell you how resistant is that glass that they use on the iPhone screen – but also to the credibility that the different speakers in the presentation have – when Jony Ive, one of the most renowned designers in the world and Apple’s Vice-President, unravels the story of how special the design of each product is, you (almost) fall victim to his spell. No? That didn’t work?

Than take a look at this video. He uses pathos to tell his story and a very original, if I may say, tagline: No arms, no legs, no worries.

So what is it that persuades you? Let me know.

p.s.: You can find a longer but if I might say amusing version of his speech here.

*modus operandi = method of working, or in other words how we operate


One thought on “A story of you, me and our modus operandi*

  1. I come across one of his speeches every so often and they never get stale. By taking our so many things for granted, mostly ourselves..we almost disable ourselves from thinking what we’d do if we suddenly find ourselves without function in our hands, legs or both. Reminds me of Disabled by Wilfred Owen..

    More than his ability to go about his day to day life without any limbs, I’m more moved by how he manages to use his positive spirit to change lives and inspire others. Such a great man!

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