The Rhetoric Triangle – credible and engaging communication

The importance of persuasive communication

Whether you’re giving a sales presentation or creating business writing for your brand-new website, persuasive communication is often the difference between success and failure.

If you struggle with effective communication, don’t worry! You’re not alone. We all communicate every day, but communicating in a persuasive way requires practice and effort.

Luckily, it’s less complicated than you think because it all boils down to the three pillars of the Rhetoric Triangle: ethos, pathos and logos.

What exactly are these three pillars and how can they help you influence potential customers and clients? Keep reading to find out.

Understanding the Rhetoric Triangle

In a very concise summary, the Rhetoric Triangle is a method of breaking down and understanding communication strategies to achieve maximum persuasiveness and effectiveness in getting the message across the way you want.

Devised by Aristotle, the Triangle works in sync with one another to deliver a truly impactful and influential message. The three pillars of the triangle are:

  • Ethos
  • Pathos
  • Logos



Ethos means ethics and refers to the use of communication to establish both credibility and authority in the eyes of your target audience.

How to use it

Nothing you say or write will influence would-be customers or clients if they don’t trust your business. (Think of a sleazy used-car salesman!) When you work to establish credibility of your business you need to centre your communication around:

  1. Who you are as a business.
  2. Your team’s background and credentials.
  3. Why are you the experts in your field/industry?
  4. What do you have to offer?

It’s really important to be open and honest, after all your reputation for credibility is on the line!


Let’s use one of the world’s leading technology brands here. Apple has spent decades cultivating its brand as a leader in smartphone, tablet and computer technology. Just seeing a piece of tech with the classic Apple logo engenders faith in users. For mobile phone repair companies, featuring the words “authorised Apple repairs” in your copy (if true, of course) will immediately instil trust based on your association with the brand.



Pathos means emotion and entails the use of effective communication that appeals to the passions and emotions of one’s target audience.

How to use it

Essentially, pathos boils down to highlight the interests and values of your potential customers and clients. To hit those emotional beats that influence the majority of consumers you need to make sure that you understand what your target market wants, or thinks it needs.

To establish an effective connection, avoid using overly technical terms or jargon. Keep your communication personal, authentic and even humorous.


Sticking with Apple, take for example their recent TV ad for the new iPhone. Instead of reeling off a bunch of cold, hard facts (we’ll get to that later) related to the quality of the smartphone’s cameras, the marketing focuses on the feeling of having “Hollywood in your pocket”. This immediately turns on people’s sense of glamour, professionalism and excitement.



Logos, which means logic, is the mode of persuasion that appeals to your target audience’s intelligence and reasoning.

How to use it

Statistics, specifications, features… All of these types of information are certainly required for logos-centred communication. But there’s more to it than that.

  • Make sure your content is clear and concise.
  • Prioritise the most important and influential data.
  • Order your content carefully considering each point’s importance.
  • Maintain coherence and logical continuity throughout your presentation, document or website.
  • Keep everything relevant. No matter how important you think knowing this fact is, you need to keep it relevant to the audience.


Apple’s communication strategy doesn’t stop at ethos and pathos. Part of its logos approach is making sure you know how many megapixels its iPhone camera offers and how long its battery will last. This information is included in ads, on product boxes, and clearly splattered across its website.

Where to now?

So, does the Rhetoric Triangle of ethos, pathos and logos work? Well, going off our example of Apple and its 55.86% of market share in Australia, we’re going to go with a resounding yes!

GO Creative is here to help ensure your website isn’t just running perfectly, and looking amazing. We’re here to help you sell your message to the people who matter in an effective, persuasive way. You can find out more about what we do by checking out our other helpful digital marketing articles, perusing our website or contacting us directly today.


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