What Is Rational Appeal?

Rational appeal is an art of persuasion that seeks to convince the audience about something entirely through the use of logical reasoning. When making a claim, a speaker using rational appeal would use factual and logical statements to back up the claim and clearly lead to the conclusion given. Rational appeal can be contrasted with other persuasion techniques that either rely on the speaker's authority or appeal to personal emotions convince others something is true.

When choosing reasons to back up a claim, a speaker using rational appear would want to know what the audience is like in order to choose reasons that are most likely to appeal to them. A speaker using emotional appeal, however, would not rely on logic and would instead prey on the audience's feelings about the topic being discussed.

Rational and emotional appeal are both commonly used in the field of marketing to convince people to buy products or services. When a company markets a product using rational appeal, it would focus on how the product or service would be practical for the customer and fulfill a real need. A company using emotional appeal wouldn't name any logical reasons that people need the product, but may instead indicate it would make them feel a certain way. According to The Atlantic, rational appeal may be best used to advertise medication and other essential needs, while emotional appeal can be helpful for items customers may want but not need.