Ethos Professional Communication gets its name from ancient rhetorical practices in general, and persuasive communication in particular.
Aristotle describes three means of persuasion: logos, pathos, and ethos. Logos appeals to reason, and pathos appeals to emotion. Ethos—derived from the word for ethics—is the rhetorical appeal grounded in the speaker’s or writer’s character, reputation, and credibility. Because ancient Greek law required defendants to speak on their own behalf, a person’s character or ethos was a vital source of authority; it was, after all, through their speeches and conduct that people would establish their credibility, thereby winning (or losing) the audience.
Although nowadays, as in Aristotle’s time, there are those who misuse rhetoric to feign the appearance of good character merely to sell an idea, product, or service, the integrity of the speaker or writer—typically evident in that person’s intelligence, common sense, virtue, and goodwill—remains paramount to the intent and credibility of the message. This view of and approach to communication is the foundation of Ethos Professional Communication.
While its principles are grounded in classical rhetoric, Ethos Professional Communication aims to make the practices of crafting and presenting effective messages available to individuals and organizations today and, in doing so, promote excellence and integrity in all communication.
The name Ethos recognizes that the values inherent in this ancient Greek concept are still relevant in modern times, yet the company’s logo also reflects these values. The leaves in Ethos’ logo are laurel leaves, which the ancient Greeks wove into wreaths or crowns to distinguish those who have excelled in their respective endeavors. The leaves’ placement is a play on the macron—from the Greek word μακρόν (makrón), meaning “long”—which is a diacritic or glyph conventionally placed above the letter “o” of ethos to indicate a long or heavy pronunciation.