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Rashi Goel

Aristotle was the originator of marketing

Aristotle was the originator of marketing
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Newsletter #1 22.09.2020

The Originator of Marketing: Aristotle

Believe it or not, Aristotle was one of the world’s first creators of marketing. He created a theory of persuasion in the 4th Century BC – Rhetoric – that forms the bedrock of marketing as we know it.

The dictionary defines rhetoric as “the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.”. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, as is Marketing.

His theory is woven around three methods of persuasion or rhetoric:

1) Pathos means “emotion” in Greek. It refers to persuasion that tugs on the heartstrings and appeals to the emotional side of a human. 

Most of the marketing we see around us invokes pathos. The joy of enjoying food with loved ones, the romance of offering a bar of chocolate to the girl of your dreams, the uncertainty of the future nudging us to invest in insurance, and the reassurance of a financial service that does not share personal information with anyone. We are all emotional beings, even if we overtly deny it. Emotional marketing works for all of us. 

2) Logos means “logic” in Greek. This uses rational, fact-based arguments to persuade.

Most B2B selling is focused on logic-based conversations around final product customization, service level agreements, technology builds, and the price. Over multiple discussions, familiarity develops, and the final B2B deal might get closed on the back of Pathos.

In B2C marketing, Pathos might bring the consumer to the shop. But then Logos takes over at the point of purchase. Packaging and merchandising generally focus on facts like price, quantity, expiry date, flavor, color, consumer promotion, etc., to reassure the buyer that he or she is spending on the right product. 

3) Ethos means “character” in Greek. It refers to the credibility a person brings along as a result of his personality and character. This credibility was thought to result from the balance between caution and passion.

In marketing, ethos is the trust, expertise, and goodwill a brand enjoys through consistent delivery and ‘walking the talk”.

Whether the appeal of a brand’s persuasion is rooted in logos or pathos, a strong track record of trust and credibility must also accompany it – a brand that overpromises but is unable to deliver via the product or service loses trust.

Timeless strategy to create markets


Sometimes, in creating a market, perspective matters, and a brand has to play the long game.

There is a famous story that two shoe traders went to an Island to prospect for new business.

One returned disappointed and said, “There is no market there, no one wears shoes!”.

The second came back elated, “There is a huge market there, no one wears shoes!”.

Nestlé Coffee marketers in Japan during the 1970s belonged to the tribe of the second trader.

Here is how Nestlé Japan played a very long game to build Japan to be the fourth largest coffee market globally.

Japan was a country of tea drinkers. Tea was not just a habit but was a part of culture [for example, tea ceremony]. All attempts to launch the coffee business in Japan failed.

Nestlé sought the help of Clotaire Rapaille– a French marketing consultant who believes in harnessing the power of unarticulated desires to build brands. Clotaire Rapaille concluded that there was no chance of success of coffee there because the Japanese palate had no early experience, hence no memory of the coffee taste.

In the world of flavors, this is called Imprinting Tastes. Tastes and preferences for flavors are formed early on in childhood. The foods we consume in childhood form the foundation of our palate memories and influence what we like to eat as we age. Rapaille’s declaration was explicit. They would never accept coffee as a beverage unless the flavor was ‘imprinted’ onto the Japanese palate early on.

Nestlé accepted the challenge and painstakingly started imprinting the coffee flavor amongst young Japanese consumers. They looked to their confectionary business to promote caffeine-free coffee-flavored chocolates and candy in schools and colleges. The young generation grew up with an acquired taste for coffee. Today, Nestlé dominates the coffee market in Japan. 

Logo I Love

Simple, Straightforward, and Surprising.

I love the straightforward way this logo captures the issue; even after all that has been said and done about the imminent danger to Earth from the climate crisis, pollution, and overpopulation, not enough is being done. That’s why it is time for lawyers to step up on behalf of the earth.