The Timeless Power of Persuasion: Using Human Truths to Enhance Market Strategies
November 15, 2023

In an age of rapid technological advancements, ever-evolving digital landscapes, and shifting consumer behavior, one might assume that the art of persuasion would have undergone dramatic transformations. Yet, an enlightening article from Harvard Business Review posits that the core principles of persuasion have remained unchanged for millennia. Understanding these enduring principles can offer market researchers and marketers invaluable insights into human behavior and how to apply them.

The Ancient Foundations of Persuasion

The article taps into the teachings of Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, who outlined three primary modes of persuasion: ethos (character), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic). Even today, effective persuasive communication often leans on these pillars and are integral principles to understand when building a marketing strategy.

1. Ethos (Character): Establish Credibility

Trust is a cornerstone of any exchange. Whether a brand or individual, credibility is paramount. Consumers are more likely to be persuaded by entities they perceive as reliable, sincere, and authoritative. Find ways to showcase your expertise and experience to help build trust and establish yourself as a reliable source of information.

2. Pathos (Emotion): Evoke Emotions

Emotional appeals have an undeniable impact. Today’s most successful advertising campaigns often elicit strong emotional reactions, whether joy, nostalgia, sadness, or humor. Tap into the emotional side of your audience. Craft compelling stories and narratives that resonate with their experiences and aspirations. Emotionally engaging content can drive action and create a lasting impact.

3. Logos (Logic): Appeal to Reason

A sound argument, backed by data and reason, remains a powerful tool for persuasion. Especially in a world awash with misinformation, logical and fact-based appeals can stand out and resonate strongly with discerning audiences. But remember, data doesn’t speak for itself, and as good marketers know, which data and how it’s presented to an audience needs to factor in the audience’s psychology.

Relevance to Modern Market Research

The article’s exploration into ancient persuasive tactics is not just academic; it holds tangible implications for today’s market researchers and marketers:

1. Consistency Across Ages: 

Understanding that the roots of persuasion are deeply embedded in human psychology means that these principles can be applied universally, irrespective of changing market dynamics. It underscores the importance of human truths in informing market strategies.

2. Emotion-Driven Consumer Behavior: 

The emphasis on pathos reminds researchers to look beyond facts and figures. Understanding the emotional drivers behind consumer decisions can lead to more profound, actionable insights.

3. The Balance of Elements: 

While it might be tempting to lean heavily into one mode of persuasion, the most compelling campaigns and strategies often balance ethos, pathos, and logos.

The Digital Era and Ancient Persuasion

While communication mediums have evolved from parchment to digital screens, the article emphasizes that the human psyche’s fundamental aspects remain. Digital platforms amplify the reach and immediacy of messages, but the underlying persuasive tactics are age-old.

This offers a grounding perspective for market researchers and marketers navigating the digital era. It emphasizes the need to focus on enduring human tendencies while adapting to modern mediums.


As highlighted by the Harvard Business Review article, the art of persuasion serves as a testament to the enduring nature of human psychology. As market researchers, recognizing and harnessing these timeless principles can enhance our understanding of consumer behavior and inform strategies that resonate profoundly and effectively. It’s reassuring to know that some things remain steadfast in a world that often feels in constant flux.

At BioVid, we rely on the sciences behind human emotion and psychology to balance the necessary pillars in the art of persuasion. In fact, our communications testing and optimization approaches (IQUUS™, Mindfit™, Emotivate™) are built on scientific foundations to boost the persuasive powers of communications.

To leverage the power of profound human truths in your next research project, contact and learn more about how BioVid can support you.

About us

BioVid is a cognitive insights and cognitive marketing company that helps global healthcare brands understand, predict, and shape stakeholder behavior to optimize commercial success and patient outcomes. Learn more by emailing or visiting

Contact Us