Aristotle on Advertising: Rhetoric (the Good Kind!) for Writing and Communication Strategy | Mark N. Clemente | Skillshare

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Aristotle on Advertising: Rhetoric (the Good Kind!) for Writing and Communication Strategy

teacher avatar Mark N. Clemente, Writer & Communication Consultant

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Rhetoric for Writing & Communication Strategy: Introduction

    • 2. Audience Analysis & Identification

    • 3. Rhetorical Research & Messaging

    • 4. Rhetorical Messaging Strategy #1: Building Believability

    • 5. Rhetorical Messaging Strategy #2: Leveraging Logic

    • 6. Rhetorical Messaging Strategy #3: Evoking Emotion

    • 7. Arrangement & Outlining

    • 8. Applied Rhetoric: Real-Life Reflections

    • 9. Conclusion & Discussion of Class Project

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About This Class

"Rhetoric” has gotten a bad name. Today, it refers only to misinformation, untruthful communications, or propaganda. But “classical rhetoric” is actually the study of effective writing and speaking—and it’s been around for more than 2,500 years since the time of Aristotle and ancient Greece. The tactics and strategies of classical rhetoric that are presented in this class are a powerful means of improving business communications, as well as general writing and presentation skills. It delivers practical and proven guidance of value to professionals in the "persuasion" businesses of advertising, sales, marketing, PR, fund-raising, lobbying, and law ... as well as to senior executives who want to better communicate with their employees and stakeholders.The class is based on the author's business eBook, "Winning Through the Art of Words," which is offered as supporting course material.


Meet Your Teacher

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Mark N. Clemente

Writer & Communication Consultant


Mark N. Clemente, MA has more than 35 years’ experience as a writer, communication consultant, and corporate trainer. An award-winning writer, he is the author of five books and dozens of journal articles and research studies on business communication.

Mark has served as a senior writer and strategist in the advertising and PR units of the renowned communications agency, Ogilvy & Mather. He has also held senior communication positions with such firms as Alexander & Alexander Consulting Group, Coopers & Lybrand, and Howard J. Rubenstein Associates. As a consultant in corporate and organizational communication, his clients have included Alcatel-Lucent, The Boston Consulting Group, Novartis, IBM, Aon Consulting, CSC, and Deloitte & Touche.

An internationally recognized ... See full profile

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1. Rhetoric for Writing & Communication Strategy: Introduction: Hi, Omar Clementi that give your interest in this course learned classical rhetoric for writing and communication strategy rhetoric. We've all heard the term. It means propaganda, misinformation, falsehoods. But rhetoric is actually this study of effective writing and communication strategy that was developed by theorists like Aristotle more than 2500 years ago. This is not a history course. Rather, it's how I have applied theories of classical rhetoric in my day to day work as a writer and communication consultant working in advertising, public relations and marketing principles of classical rhetoric are as usable today as they were 2500 years ago. Here's what you're going to learn in this course. You will learn how to become a better and more strategic writer and communicator. You learn how to devise persuasive communications to move others toe action. In order to achieve your communication or business objectives, you learned how to plan your communications systematically by identifying exactly what to say or write and how to say or write it. You'll be overcoming your fear of the blank computer screen or blank page and jump start the writing and communication strategy process by discovering key messages, themes or campaign concepts, and you'll learn how to improve your public speaking and presentation skills by strengthening the core content of your speech. This course is for any business professional who wants to become a better writer and speaker, but it's really designed for professional communicators. People who work in the persuasion business is of advertising, public relations, sales, marketing, lobbying, fund raising, politics, law, any professional area where you have to develop persuasive communications in order to move others. Toe action. Here's how the courses structured rhetoric for writing and communications strategy presents essential proven guidance in three key areas. The first is audience analysis. The second is rhetorical research were the process of developing effective messaging and messaging strategies, an arrangement and out warning, which is focused on organizing our content from maximum communication impact. Through this course, you will learn timeless techniques of effective writing and communication. So please sign on and let's get started 2. Audience Analysis & Identification: development communication strategy begins with audience analysis. It's essential that we can, to the extent possible, understand our audience in terms of its general makeup and composition, and perhaps most importantly, understand the attitudes and beliefs that they hold towards us and our topic. We could begin the process of audience analysis by looking at some of the areas that are typically examined in traditional advertising and PR campaign planning. Let's look at some of those categories now. Audience analysis involves looking at several categories versus demographics, which is the area that looks at the audience in terms of its members age, income, sex, religion or nationality. The next would be geographic information. This concerns where our audience members live and how where they live, may influence their views on certain issues or influence the types of products they use. And by Leslie Cycle graphics. This is a critically important area that looks at what an audience is like in terms of its members, activities, interests and opinions. Now, by definition, psychographic sis focused on identifying people's attitudes and beliefs toward a given subject or issue. Most of the guidance in this course comes from classical rhetoric and theorists like Aristotle. But it was 1/20 century theorist, Kenneth Burke, who conceptualized the idea of identification, which, in my view is one of most essential persuasive communication strategies that we could pursue. Identification holds that persuasion is impossible unless we have forged a common bond with our audience. We can forge a common bond with our audience or identify with our audience by focusing on several key areas. The first would be interests such as literature, sports or hobbies. Next would be attitudes, such as common attitudes in terms of politics or social issues. Next values such as honesty, integrity or loyalty. Experiences such as education vocation perceptions such as people's challenges of problems or opportunities. They see for Leslie material property things such as houses, artwork, cars or other possessions, his writers and communicators. We can use the process of audience analysis and identification to support and inform the process of rhetorical research. And it's with rhetorical research that we begin the process of formally articulating our communications strategy and specific messages that we hope to impart. So let's sum up. Audience analysis is essential to understand your readers and listeners in terms of their general composition, their makeup and, most importantly, the key attitudes and beliefs that they hold toward you and your topic. Second identification is a critically important theory of persuasion, which holds that we have to forge a common bond with our audience in order to persuade them . Many people believe that there can be no persuasion without identification. Lastly, audience analysis is particularly important from the standpoint of its ability to help inform and support you. Rhetorical research and then, ultimately your communications strategy and messaging in the next lesson will look at the ways to conduct rhetorical research to begin the process, crafting our overall communication approach. 3. Rhetorical Research & Messaging: in classical rhetoric, there's a specific type of research that we employ. It's called discovery or invention, and there's a very act terms because in the process of conducting rhetorical research, we're discovering the ideas and facts and verbal techniques that we're going to use to help develop our argument. And secondly, we will be inventing very specific ways to present our information in a powerful and compelling way. There are two key goals in conducting rhetorical research. The first is the process of developing your overall communications strategy, including communication goals and objectives. And next, it's selecting the ideas, the concepts, the verbal techniques that you'll use in your messaging and which should tide your specific communication situation. Rhetorical research involves identifying what's called proofs or appeals that each of these areas is going to help us identify against specific ideas that will use in our overall communication strategy and in specific messages. In rhetorical research, we focus on three key areas, and these terms you may have heard before ethos, logos and pathos ethos refers to the ethical appeal, which is where you attempt to build up your character and credibility logos is where we base our position our messaging. A logical reasoning and pathos is the emotional appeal where we attempt to identify ways to arouse our audiences passions in order to persuade them. Now, the next three lessons will look at each of these appeals individually. Later, we'll also talk about how to pull all that information together in terms of developing specific messages in an overall communication strategy. So let's sum up rhetorical research directly supports the development of your overall communications strategy. Next to research should identify messaging opportunities based on three key areas. Ethos building believability in the message source logos leveraging logic and pathos, which is evoking emotions in your audience. Lastly, rhetorical research should always focus on your particular communication situation. Now, in the next lesson will look at the first of these proofs, ethos or the process of building believability in the message source with that sources yourself someone on whose behalf you're working, or even a product 4. Rhetorical Messaging Strategy #1: Building Believability: The first messaging strategy, based on classical rhetoric, involves building believability. Aristotle called this ethos or applying the ethical appeal. And in many respects, this is probably the most important messaging strategy that we could ever adopt because of our readers or listeners. Don't believe us. They don't believe that were credible, will never be able to persuade that will never be able to move them to action or get them to do what we'd like them to dio. The ethical appeal is something we see very frequently and political communications, where the candidate is looking to establish his or her moral standing and virtue and always trying to discredit or downplay the credibility of their opponent. But how do we go about building believability? What Aristotle tell us about what we need to do to build believability? He told us to focus on three key things. We build believability by illustrating wisdom, in other words, by demonstrating to our listeners or readers that we have the intelligence and experience a firm grasp the issues at hand. Next we could show moral character where we demonstrate our inherent goodness. In other words, we illustrate character by demonstrating virtue things like courage, generosity, caution, practicality. Lastly, we show good will require that we demonstrate an interest in people's welfare. This could include showing how you've made sacrifices to your own happiness or comfort to benefit others on example, donations you may have given to help the needy. Later, I'll talk about outlining and arranging and how to structure our content for maximum impact . But when we're talking about the ethical appeal building believability, this is something we have to do right at the very outset of whatever it is we're writing introduction. As we move forward in terms of their communications, we always have to establish credibility and continually reinforce it. Effective, persuasive communications require establishing believability of the message source. Whether that sources yourself, person on whose behalf you're working or product you're promoting, we build believability by citing examples of intelligence, compassion, generosity. We must remember to continually reinforce credibility throughout all phases of the speech were giving or the content that were developing. In the next lesson, we'll talk about another critical messaging strategy based on classical rhetoric, and that involves leveraging logic 5. Rhetorical Messaging Strategy #2: Leveraging Logic: another way to build communications strategy based on classical rhetoric is by leveraging logic, and in this case we are appealing to our audiences intellectual convictions. Now we leverage logic by using things like examples, data, points, statistics, things that will help us build and strengthen our argument. Now, a key aspect of leveraging logic involves the use of what's called the rhetorical solipsism . Now the syllogism is actually a very powerful and useful building block for developing communications strategy. The syllogism is a series of statements that are structured as follows. If a is true and B is true, then see must be true. Here A is a statement called the major premise. B is the minor premise and sees the conclusion. Now. The most famous example of rhetorical syllogism goes as follows. All men are mortal. That being the major premise, Socrates is a man that being the minor premise and Socrates is mortal. That being the conclusion, in other words, is, If a is true and B is true, then see must be true. And to apply the syllogism, we have to identify the major premise, which is a certain fact pertaining to our situation. The minor premise, which is our selling point, or the issue that we're taking on a particular topic, and, lastly, a conclusion that is persuasive and helps us drive from our point and move others toe action. Here's an example of a syllogism a sales person might use first. The major premise salesmen would say, Based on our discussion, you say your best I T solution would be one that integrates quickly and seamlessly with your existing network. Now, this would be a truth in this situation. In other words, the prospect companies need sales person within state. The minor premise, his or her sales point. The I T. Solution my company offers allows the fastest implementation and integration of any competing product on the market. We have extensive experience in implementing these types of systems. The third will be the conclusion where the sales person's product is deemed to be the company's best I t solution, the Prospect company said. We need it fast. The selling company said no one could do it faster. The conclusion being our companies offering our company solution is the best one for the job at hand. Syllogism is actually very practical tool. That's when they use every day with where I'm writing an individual piece from developing an entire advertising or PR campaign strategy wherever possible. It's important to use logic in building our overall communication strategy. But Aristotle emphasize that logical loan is generally not enough to persuade. And that's why it's important to use logic in concert with other rhetorical strategies that we're talking about. In this course, leveraging logic is an essential way of developing communications strategy. By applying classical rhetoric when leveraging logic, it's important to use statistics, data points and other fax. We have to explore messaging based on the rhetorical syllogism, and lastly, we must always combined logic with other types of rhetorical messaging strategies. Now, in the next lesson will look at another powerful way to build communications strategy, and that is evoking emotion. 6. Rhetorical Messaging Strategy #3: Evoking Emotion: Now let's look at the third approach to developing communication strategy using classical rhetoric and that involves evoking emotions. It's important to note is that persuasion is often impossible if we haven't put our audience in the right frame of mind first so we could develop communications strategy based on leveraging logic. We could develop messaging that's based on building believability in the message source. But many times true persuasion is impossible unless we've put our audience in the right frame of mind. Now studying all these human emotions were taken entire course unto itself. So let's just focus on some of the main emotions that were studied in the context of classical rhetoric. In probably the earliest Don't study of human psychology, Aristotle identified the basic human emotions that we have to understand before we can arouse them. In others, Aristotle spoke about the emotions in opposite terms. That means when he discussed one, he followed it with discussion about its opposite. Here's how he listed the main human emotions first anger verses, columnist love or friendship versus hatred, fear versus confidence, kindness vs unkindness and the versus emulation. So let's take a look at several examples of human emotions and, most importantly, how we could apply them or understand them in real life communications situations, for instance, let's take the emotions of fear and its opposite confidence, Aristotle said. You arouse fear by creating images of potential disaster or harm that is, by showing how disastrous outcomes are possible. Here are three different fear based communication themes or message platforms. Consider first the political candidates stance. Your tax bill is going to go up 50% if you elect my opponent for the communications that might come from a community group campaign. A child is going to get hurt at that corner if we don't install a traffic light. Or an advertiser might warn, you'll never get a date if you don't treat that acne problem for yours. Now, each of these examples shows the negative consequence of an action or inaction, so the prospect of a steep tax increase if you vote for the wrong candidate the potential of a child getting hurt at a dangerous intersection. Budgetary dollars do not go to installing a traffic light at that location, where the potential of having ah, horrible social life if you don't take care of the active problem. So let's sum up with three key takeaways. First, persuasion is often impossible without first arousing the audiences emotions. Next, we have to always consider a given human emotion in terms of its opposite. In other words, we may want to initially instill fear, but we ultimately want to leave our audience with the feeling of confidence. And lastly, different communications situations require different emotional appeals. So now we've discussed three main communications strategy approaches, using classical rhetoric, building believability, leveraging logic and evoking emotion in the next lesson will look at arrangement and outlining and how to take all the information that we have accumulated, all the strategies that we've identified for communication purposes and how to roll them all up into a powerful communication platform. 7. Arrangement & Outlining: Now let's talk about arrangement. And outlining is the process where you pull it all together, where you take the information that you've accumulated through your rhetorical research, the ways that you are going to build believability, leverage, logic and evoke emotion and pull that all together into a powerful communication approach. In classical rhetoric, arrangement refers to how you organize the words and concepts that comprise your overall rhetorical strategy. Aristotle believed that there were really only two parts to any persuasive discourse. You stated your case, and then you proved it later. Rhetorical theorists, however, saw the components of persuasive speech as comprising five distinct parts. In other words, arrangement involved identifying the introduction where you establish what you're going to talk about next year. Statement of fact, where you introduced the central points of your argument as they relate to the situation at hand. Next, the confirmation where you cite the main fax or concepts that will support or prove your case, the reputation where you respond to your opponent's argument or objections and attempt to disprove them. And lastly, the conclusion where you summarize your argument and make the final appeal step. Believe your listeners or readers feeling good about you and feeling predisposed to take the action that you're proposing now. From a practical perspective, outlining could just be approached by developing a basic beginning, middle and end structure. In this scenario, the beginning or introduction would be where you said an overview of what you plan to talk about stating the general purpose of your speech. In your introduction, you must capture your listeners or readers attention and begin the all important process of establishing your credibility or building believability in the body or middle section. You would employ the line of reasoning based on your rhetorical syllogism, or you would build a series of statements that lead to a logical conclusion in the middle section of your discourse. You would also be arousing the desired emotions in your listeners or readers. In the end, your concluding remarks would remind the listener of what you said a summary of your case and leaving the listeners or readers feeling good about you reinforcing your ethos. The conclusion is also where you would invoke your call to action. Now certainly not all our communications or this formal, but I believe that arrangement and outlining is imperative in every major communication situation. I know that I develop outlines when I'm writing a book. Full manuscript would require extensive outlining, but also even one. I'm about to make an important phone call, and I want to jot down some key communication points I want to make as well as introduced some of the rhetorical techniques that we've been discussing in this course. Let's sum up with three key takeaways. Rhetorical arrangement is the process of planning out the structure of your communications strategy. Arrangement is actually the process of organizing your communications with a beginning, middle and end. And it's where you take everything that you've discovered the ways that you will build believability, leverage, logic and evoke emotion. And lastly, arrangement and outlining is essential. And preparing for any communication situation in the next lesson will wrap up all the guidance. I hope I've been able to successfully provide in this course. We'll talk about a class project that you could undertake to help you understand and apply classical rhetorical techniques in your writing and communication planning 8. Applied Rhetoric: Real-Life Reflections: E. I feel very fortunate to have studied classical rhetoric in college and then later on in my graduate work field of classical rhetoric is a deep and fascinating subject. This course provides just the high level overview. Most importantly, it presents the strategies and techniques like personally, have used in my day to day work and communications. Now let's talk about how I've been able to use classical rhetoric and actual practice. In recent years. Most of the work I've done has been in healthcare and pharmaceutical advertising, and in every ad campaign that I do for a product I am using classical rhetorical principles and strategies. Let's start with audience analysis. Every campaign begins with audience research in the area. Pharmaceutical advertising I invariably research positions attitudes towards medications. In a given therapeutic category, research is conducted pre campaign, where we're trying to identify physicians attitudes and also during the course of the giving campaign, where we develop messages and test those messages before formally introducing them in actual promotional content. Now let's talk about the area of rhetorical research, and by the way, Aristotle's never called a rhetorical research, he called it exploring the available means of persuasion by studying things like eat those logos and pathos. Personally, I call it rhetorical research, cause that's the process of identifying all the ways that we will be able to build messaging to advance our product or service or the position that we're taking. Building believability is typically an essential part of developing campaign strategy. In pharmaceutical advertising. We typically enlist the support of Ko Els, which is an acronym for key opinion leaders. He's a respected physicians who lend their credibility to the brand. In other words, they speak favorably about given medication and the help it could provide to patients in need. In terms of leveraging logic, I will frequently used data points that show, for example, the efficacy of a given medication, where the number of patients who are successfully taking it now in terms of evoking emotion is a critical part of developing messaging and strategy. This is achieved basically two ways through the telling this story, patients who are suffering and the images of those patients invoking the feelings of sadness about problems that these patients are facing in terms of their given condition, but most importantly, ultimately leaving our readers or listeners, the feeling of hope that by taking the approved medication, they will be able to successfully fight their illness. What about arrangement and outlining? Certainly, every communication project you work on is going to vary in terms of its length, its tone, whether it's formal or informal. But think about arrangement and outlining from the standpoint of a traditional print ad where the headline is your introduction grabbing the reader, bringing him or heart into this story. You're trying to tell the middle part of the ad being the body where you explain your position, outline your key selling points and, of course, the conclusion being that strong call to action where you say to the reader or listener, buy this product vote for this candidate or embraced this particular view that were espousing. As I've mentioned, every communication situation is different. As a persuasive writer and communicator, it's up to you toe identify what Aristotle called the available means of persuasion in any situation 9. Conclusion & Discussion of Class Project: thin this course. I've tried to take the great ancient art. Classical rhetoric have present the key techniques and strategies that you can use in everyday communication situations. In the lessons we covered audience analysis and the ways to understand our readers and listeners and the attitudes they hold toward us and our topic. We looked at rhetorical research of the specific ways that we could ask questions and explore different areas in order to come up with ideas and concepts and facts and verbal techniques that we can use in our messaging and actual communication presentations. Lastly, we talked a bad arrangement and the ways to best organize your communication approach for maximum impact. So whether you're writing an ad, a press release speech, doing communication, planning for a sales program, writing a submission for a jury, we're writing a letter of appeal. Principles and techniques of classical rhetoric are usable in every communication situation where you need to be persuasive and you need to move others toe action. Now let's look at three specific exercises that you can undertake to effectively apply and understand classical rhetorical techniques and strategies. The class project for rhetoric for writing and communication strategy involves three activities. First selected ad campaign comprised of at least two ads and analyzed the campaigns. Messaging from the standpoint of the classical rhetorical principles taught in the course indicate what messaging strategies were employed and assess their effectiveness. Second, write a one page ad, press release speech or other form of persuasive content where you apply one or more of the classical rhetorical principles taught in the course. Explain how you use thes messaging strategies and why Third selected organization could be a profit or nonprofit group, visit its website and analyze how the group is positioning Self and its mission. Note how the organization is persuasively describing itself in the marketplace by applying classical rhetorical principles. Thank you again for taking this course. I look forward to interacting with students and fielding your comments, questions and ideas online. Best of luck