Pathos, Ethos, Logos in Kotak Bank’s communication

Karthi Marshan, Marketing Head, Kotak Mahindra Group decodes how Kotak Bank has used Aristotle’s philosophy while crafting its marketing strategy

e4m by Priyanka Nair
Published: Mar 7, 2013 8:03 PM  | 3 min read
Pathos, Ethos, Logos in Kotak Bank’s communication

Karthi Marshan, Marketing Head, Kotak Mahindra Group believes that the art of persuading audiences means using the three basic appeals that Aristotle first described: ethos, pathos, and logos. He considers Aristotle’s model effective even today.

Marshan is of the opinion that there is an abundance of brand information in front of audiences today and all thanks to entertainment that this information is reaching out to the target audience in an interesting package.

“Today entertainment owns us – right from films to the ever evolving digital media,” he said.

Marshan decodes how Kotak Bank, over the recent times, has kept in mind the ethos, pathos, and logos while crafting its communication.

An ethical appeal by definition, and in the advertising context, means convincing the target audiences. In the case of Kotak Bank, Marshan points out, that it tries to leverage what consumers have to say about them in its communications. For instance, in a category where age and trust are linearly co-related, Kotak Mahindra Bank chose to convey a statement of youthfulness for their ‘25 years’ campaign in 2011. Kotak Mahindra Bank, on this occasion, unveiled a high-impact campaign that featured a series of 10-second television commercials and print campaigns. The idea of 10-second commercials came from the one-second commercials by Miller High Life during the Super Bowl. Since India does not have media spots for such one-second innovations, Kotak Mahindra picked up the ten-second spots instead.

Though this campaign, Kotak wanted to discuss not just what money can do for their costumers in a practical sense, viz provide security and growth, but also what money does to them, viz self esteem, freedom, choices, etc.

Pathos in advertising means persuading by betting on consumer’s emotions. Kotak too, like many other Indian brands, believes that the art of music and storytelling has emerged as a strong marketing tool because consumers use these forms in their daily life.

Logos or logical percussion as it is known in advertising, means persuading by the use of reasoning. That was the time when Kotak Bank brought in Subbu as a character in its communications. Subbu is a voice of the brand and not a brand endorser that helped consumers decode their worries. Subbu was created at the time when the Reserve Bank of India de-regulated interest rates on savings accounts. Subbu, using various media platforms, spread the word on various products that the bank launches from time to time.

Kotak Bank, one of youngest in the category, is using traditional principles of communication and modernising it with consumer demands. It will be interesting to see how the brand will continue to inform, persuade and entertain its customers and potential customers.

Karthi Marshan was speaking on the topic ‘Money Needn’t Be Complicated: Simplifying Banking Through Entertainment’ at the Mumbai leg of Pitch CMO Summit 2013, held on March 6, 2013. The session was chaired by Subhash Kamath, Managing Partner, BBH India.

The Summit was presented by Colors and partnered by MEC India.

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