How to construct corporate identity and reputation. Is the ‘about us’ page a micro-genre?


Multimodal resources and digital multimedia technologies have been modifying and remodelling social practices in any field over the last decades. In business communication, histories of business, corporate vision and mission are today instantiated by the ‘About Us’ webpage, a sort of multimodal self-portrait or short autobiography created by the company itself. From a discursive perspective, this webpage typology has always been disregarded if compared with the crucial role played by the homepage that, according to the Usability guidelines, is to present the company, its business and market value. Only recently, web marketers have focused on the strategic function the undervalued ‘About Us’ page fulfils. It has revealed itself to be a goal-oriented sales page which focuses on highlighting the most relevant credentials of a company, its brand, and on making a strong impression on potential customers. Its aim is to remodel practices of Self presentation into practices of Self branding and this process takes place thanks to the co-deployment of different semiotic resources which, in turn, make use of different digital media technologies. This contribution will show how the specialized discourses of marketing and branding are translated, or rather transducted, into multimodal artefacts, the corporate ‘About Us’ pages, and how persuasive discursive strategies are embedded in a well-defined digital text pattern. Through the analysis of a small sample of corporate ‘About Us’ pages, we will demonstrate that these pages are the loci where business reputation and corporate identity can be constructed more effectively.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v40p267

Keywords: About Us page; Multimodal Discourse Analysis; Usability; Self Presentation; Self Branding


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