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Identities across Media and Modes: Discursive Perspectives

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Giuliana Elena Garzone and Paola Catenaccio

The recognition that identity is mutable, multi-layered and subject to multiple modes of construction and de-construction has contributed to problematizing the issues associated with its representation in discourse, which has recently been attracting increasing attention in different disciplinary areas. Identity representation is the main focus of this volume, which analyses instances of multimedia and multimodal communication to the public at large for commercial, informative, political or cultural purposes. In particular, it examines the impact of the increasingly sophisticated forms of expression made available by the evolution of communication technologies, especially in computer-mediated or web-based settings, but also in more traditional media (press, cinema, TV). The basic assumption shared by all contributors is that communication is the locus where identities, either collective, social or individual, are deliberately constructed and negotiated.
In their variety of topics and approaches, the studies collected in this volume testify to the criticality of representing personal, professional and organizational identities through the new media, as their ability to reach a virtually unlimited audience amplifies the potential political, cultural and economic impact of discursive identity constructions. They also confirm that new highly sophisticated media can forge identities well beyond the simply iconic or textual representation, generating deeply interconnected webs of meaning capable of occupying an expanding – and adaptable – discursive space.

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CHIARA DEGANO Marketing Identities on Nestlé’s Websites 189

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CHIARA DEGANO Marketing Identities on Nestlé’s Websites 1. Introduction The concept of corporate identity has stretched considerably in the last few decades, moving from a restricted reference to the logos and other symbols which were seen as “identifying the organisation to third parties” (Cornelissen/Elving 2003: 114),1 to including all “communi- cation techniques and even behaviour by which organisations com- municate […] with key publics and stakeholders”, and, within the framework of organisational behaviour and management studies, even to the company’s “distinctive features and core activities” (Cornelissen/ Elving 2003: 115). The progressive enlargement of corporations, as an effect of globalisation, together with the diversification of business activities across a number of industries, has raised the issue of the consistency of a company’s identity, an issue to which some theorists responded with the recommendation of reinforcing a monolithic image with which the company could straightforwardly be associated (Leitch/ Motion 1999: 194). Other scholars have – on their part – introduced the concept of the multiplicity of identities, in tune with the semiotic view of multiplicity as a central characteristic of meaning. From this perspective multiplicity was recognised as a possible strategy to be deployed in the communication of identity, provided that the different identities proposed by a company stemmed from a common root, that is the set of “central values which function as the basis for undertaking 1 According to Cornelissen and Elving, the term ‘corporate identity’ was first used by Lippincott/Margulies (1957). Chiara Degano 190 any kinds of communication envisaged by an...

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