Rhetoric Reflection

I enjoyed taking this class this semester. The thought process behind a Rhetoric course focused around business students really was an exciting challenge throughout the entire course. I tend to enjoy challenges, so this helped make the course really interesting for me. By taking it with other business students, not only was I able to understand rhetorical concepts but also meet and work with many of my peers. Before I had come to Iowa, I had never even heard of Rhetoric. All I knew was that I had to take it as a requirement to begin my major. But throughout the semester, I really began to see the importance of this class for the future.

I feel as though I performed well in the class, though I probably could have spoken up a lot more than I did. For the most part, I feel as though my writing was decent and I would like to believe that my speeches were not all that bad.  The workload was what I expected it to be from a four credit hour course but in a different way. It wasn’t necessarily the fact that we had a lot of assignments but rather that we had more in depth assignments. I enjoy going in depth into topics so these types of assignments worked well for me. The textbooks I was okay with. Heinrichs was certainly more entertaining and therefore more engaging to read than Locke and Spender was but both provided a unique purpose to the class. I think that my best project of this semester was the last one. Not only was it something completely different from what I had been used to, but I was able to work on general business skills (and in some cases improve) in communicating the story of the Haunted Bookshop. However, I did enjoy other projects throughout the class, namely the first one as a close second.

There were some aspects of the class that I didn’t particularly enjoy or feel as though they were effective.  The student led discussions were not nearly as effective as they probably could or should have been. Most people seemed to just read the summaries and skim the chapter before class. Most of us never talked and I know here I could have spoken up more. But in general, the class mainly found a way to reach the required time limit rather than trying to have their peers be engaged in the topics being discussed. Also, a major issue for my group, and perhaps other groups as well, during our projects was the uncertainty of exactly what the rubric for each topic was asking us to do. Maybe some clarification as to what was exactly required would create less confusion among the students.

In general, this course was well thought out and extremely interesting to be in. Being in class with other Tippie Direct Admit students was enjoyable as it seemed as though everyone was engaged in this course and what it provided for us, both socially and in class.

Speech Reflection

I feel that my speech went fairly well but I certainly could have done better than what I did. I probably could have spoken a little clearer, maybe engaged the class a little bit more or basically could have done something extra to help with the presentation. I feel that I prepared decently for the presentation itself and the question and answer afterward, though the presentation probably could have been a little bit more interactive or professional looking. I must say that I am glad that I was able to answer the questions in the question and answer session afterward; that was something I was concerned about. I might have put a little bit more rhetorical analysis and covered the different types of rhetoric being used in the speech and perhaps a bit more research on my topic but in general I felt that I had prepared decently for the speech.  I could also have practiced my speech a little bit more and maybe have gone to the Speaking Center. My grade most definitely reflects the amount of effort that I put into the speech. Hopefully, with the changes I plan on making to how I prepare for a speech or even a paper, my grade will be able to improve in the future. The amount of work that I have had to complete for college versus high school is certainly different. In high school, the most I had ever had to do was study for a test, memorize vocab, and maybe do a project or two. Until I got into college and actually had started classes, I never really had to put much effort into homework or studying for tests. Now, I do. Now, I tend to do homework and study late into the night and during breaks between classes. Considering that the average is two hours of homework per credit hour and I am taking nineteen credit hours this semester, I am usually doing homework ninety-percent of the time which unfortunately leaves very little “down time” to myself. The change has certainly taken some getting used to, but it is worth it and I have learned a lot about how to manage my time throughout the semester. I do hope that I will not have to take nineteen credit hours every semester though. It has been hard enough as it is this semester; doing so every semester is probably not all that smart if avoidable.

Fari Ebrahimi and Verizon

Verizon already has had large success in the telecommunications industry. With the merger in 2000, they have become a powerhouse. But they ran into a problem when they decided to accelerate their timeline to having the project of the merger completed in less than two years. Fari Ebrahimi, at the time senior vice president and CIO of Verizon Services Operations (VSO), had a tough challenge on his hands convincing them to do accelerate the time frame though. Ebrahimi knew that he had to persuade the company that he would provide them with the best technology and personell available to him. Using his position, Ebrahimi convinced the board to do exactly what he wanted. But how?

Ebrahimi used his ethos efficiently here. As CIO of Verizon Services Operations, which takes care of all of the services needed by Verizon, he used his position to convince the company that he knew what he was talking about when he said that the merger could be completed within two years. He knew all of the best technology to use and knew who the best people were to get the job done. But Ebrahimi didn’t just use his pathos to accomplish his goal. His pathos was also able to persuade the company into shortening the timeline. Ebrahimi used the customers’ ability to access the services when desired as an example. He appeals to their emotional side, the one that actually does want to see the customer happy.

Both of these characteristics seemed to work well with Ebrahimi’s personality. He seems to be a person that is extremely professional in their dealings with others, as he shows when he is trying to convince Verizon to accelerate their timeline, a dangerous move considering the potential customer dissatisfaction if they didn’t meet the deadline. From the article on the Oracle, Ebrahimi does seem to be a pleasant person who isn’t extravagant, but rather a simplistic person.

Ebrahimi’s simplicity and business-like style makes him more credible. Everything from his position in the company to the way he acted in accomplishing his goal makes him a credible source of information. Luckily for Verizon, the move caused the company to have a major profit from the savings that the merger brought about. By 2009, VSO had saved Verizon more than $1.6 billion across every area of the merger. A rather large profit from a risky move. Ebrahimi got his wish though and Verizon has thrived because of his persuasion.

Promark vs. Vater

vater pro-mark

The first thing that a musician thinks about when they go to buy drumsticks is what brand/company they want to use. There are many out there but I’m going to focus on two specific companies: Promark and Vater. Both of these companies sell drumsticks and other percussion equipment to all sorts of drummers. As a drummer myself, I thought that it would be interesting to see the difference not only between their products but also how they market they’re product. Though both companies use ethos, the way they go about getting their customers attention are slightly different.

Promark’s website is well done. The first thing you see is a picture of one of the artists that they sponsor, perfect placement to catch young and upcoming drummers’ eyes and lure them into at least looking at what they are selling. Ethos works its magic here since most drummers when they start out want to be like the ones that they always hear about, usually the ones that are sponsored by some stick company in particular one of the big five such as Promark (“Buyer’s Guide”). Scroll down and underneath Promark’s slideshow of artists are links to events, a series of autographed drumsticks and the history of where the company came from. Promark proudly states in its history link that they have been making drumsticks since 1957 as a family run business. Once again Promark appeals to our ethos, as it continues to state things such as the inspections that the wood they use to make their drumsticks go through, the fact that they only use un-endangered wood and that they were the first to market a Japanese oak stick in America. Why am I telling you all this? Because just in the web page on the history of the company, Promark makes you believe that they know what they are doing. This is important for Promark because it gives them a sense of credibility in the sense that they know how to produce a high quality product very well. That’s not even getting into some of the renowned artists which include Neal Peart, Simon Phillips, Daru Jones and more. The listing aforementioned is full of drummers that Promark sponsors with a small bio of each drummer, including a picture of the drummer and a note of each drumstick type that they use.

While their ethos is great, their pathos and logos are not really shown. Promark fails to appeal to the customers’ logos or pathos in the sense that there is nothing on their website that appeals to the customer’s emotion or logic. It is as though Promark hopes that their rhetoric technique with ethos will get them what they want. Not exactly the most effective way to be persuasive yet they still get drummers to buy their product. They almost appear as though they are saying “We have a reputation so you should come buy our product.” Though this tactic is great for ethos, it’s not really an overall effectively persuasive technique.

Vater’s website is much simpler. A simple web page that also has a slideshow of their sponsored artists with a listing underneath, clearly labeled tabs at the top and a few links at the bottom makes it easy to use and understand for the average customer. A quick look at the company’s history and you see that they have been around since November 1991, more than a few years after Promark, which is likely to make them less credible in the eyes of the customer, even if they produce the same quality of product. On their website, Vater says that they used to be a smaller stick company until recently as they have expanded greatly. This is important because in the music industry word-of-mouth and experience are the biggest indicators as to whether certain drumsticks are of high quality or not. Because they weren’t as big of a stick company until their recent expansion, Vater has had to work harder to persuade customers into buying their product. Once again, ethos is the most prominent example of how they’ve accomplished their goal. Drummers love to say that they can play like so and so or that they have so and so’s drumstick. So once again, artists and their autographed sticks are thrust into the customer’s face in an attempt to use argument from strength. In other words, because these drumsticks are used by such and such drummer, they should be good enough for the beginning or even average drummer.

Both of these companies produce and persuade customers to buy a performance-driven product. When a musician buys drumsticks, they don’t do so because it makes them feel anything or because there are facts out there. They do so based on ethos, or in other words, whoever they want to sound like (“Stick With It”). With this in mind, both companies use the most effective technique available to them to persuade their customers into buying their product, artists.

Each of these companies has a listing of artists that they use to persuade young artists to buy their product. Regardless of the style of music that a drummer plays, names of professional drummers are well known by most in the music industry. Both Promark and Vater do an excellent job of finding artists who will promote their product. Recently Promark has gathered a number of artists to promote their product, making them more credible in the eyes of the young drummer (“D’Addario”). Vater too, has recently gathered artists (one of which is Max Weinberg who is considered to be an excellent professional drummer), but not as many as Promark has (“Max Weinberg”). This is likely to make Vater less credible, even though they make just as high quality of product as Promark or any other drumstick company does. On the other hand, Vater has recently persuaded the first and only drum school in Sacramento, CA, the Drum Lab, to promote their product (“Hal Leonard”). Considering that this school is the only one in the city, the fact that the school has chosen Vater over other stick companies is a large step up in credibility since instructors usually have experience with different styles of drumsticks.

In general, both Promark and Vater do an excellent job of marketing their product. With that in mind however, it appears as though Promark has done a better job of it. Of course it helps to have a reputation within the music industry, but Promark really took their rhetoric to heart when trying to persuade their customers, at least when it came to persuading them with ethos. Unfortunately for Vater, they haven’t been one of the “big five” for as long as Promark has, and as such, it hurts their credibility a little bit even with their recent expansion. In a few years, perhaps this will change, but as of now, Promark essentially defeats Vater in regards to which company has the best persuasive website, and therefore likely beats Vater in how many customers buy their product.

Works Cited

“Buyer’s Guide: high end drumsticks” MusicRadar. January 26, 2009. http://www.musicradar.com/us/tuition/drums/buyers-guide-high-end-drumsticks-193519

“D’Addario Percussion Brands Attract Artists” Music Trades. Aug2012, Vol. 160 Issue 7, p37-38. 2p.

“Hal Leonard Represents Mystic Publishing” Music Trades. Oct2010, Vol. 158 Issue 9, p50-50. 1/3p

“Max Weinberg New Vater Artist” Music Trades. Nov2012, Vol. 160 Issue 10, p120-122. 3p.

“Stick With It: Drumstick Searching Made Easy” Flight Drummers Magazine. November 4, 2012, http://magazine.flightdrummers.com/stick-with-it/

Audi 2013 Commercial

 

 

Audi starts this commercial with an unconfident teenage boy dressed and ready to go to his senior prom. His mom, though trying to support the fact that he is going alone, does nothing to help him. Just before the teenager walks out the door, his dad throws him the keys to an Audi 2013 parked in the drive way. A quick flash of him in the driver’s seat and we can already start to see the confidence rising. Confidence almost sells as much as sex and advertisers know it.

From this point on, Audi continues to show the teenager’s increase in confidence throughout night, even going so far as to have him kiss the prom queen, who appears to be the prom king’s girlfriend. A quick shot of him afterwards shows the teenage boy driving and having what appears to be the time of his life, not even seeming to remotely care about the black eye that is now on his face. His confidence is through the roof, and Audi proudly tells us that bravery is what defines us, aligning their vehicle with a sense of doing something brave.

Confidence is the driving force behind this product. Throughout the commercial, the viewer can clearly identify that it is because of the Audi 2013 that the teenager gains the confidence to kiss what the viewer can likely infer is his crush at prom. In his mind, he has gone from zero to hero, not caring about a thing. Even the viewers were drawn to this commercial (which aired during the Super Bowl) as they were able to select it out of three options that Audi provided as potential commercials to air. The commercial was obviously targeted to the 22-30 age group who want to display their new found confidence and fruitful careers. All in all, this commercial did exactly what was intended for it to do.