Badges: identify talent and brand by association

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In 2015 we used RMIT University’s Graduate Futures Careers Fund to pilot badges as a possible way to improve the employment prospects of graduates from the Advertising Degree. Through iterative action research we developed, tested and reviewed: infrastructural support for badges; teacher, student and practitioner understanding of badge concepts and value and; what appropriate and meaningful implementation of badges might look like in the advertising industry.

Despite the difficulties that other Australian educational institutions have found when trying to implement badges, we’ve identified three areas of value for badging in the domains of advertising education and practice specifically:

1. Badges can highlight an individual’s talent and experience where formal accreditation does not, such as in co and extracurricular activities, work experience and peer relations and esteem

2. Badges carry a form of ‘brand-by-association’ both for the issuer and the receiver, and that value intersects with notions of online identity management

3. Badges present opportunities for unique methods of advertising, and these methods are potentially new content to be taught in the advertising program

The technology and infrastructure that presently facilitates badging remains precarious, disjointed and competitive. Institutional, teacher/student and industry/practitioner awareness and understanding of the use and value of badges remains low to nonexistent. The developing fields of ‘big data’, ‘artificial intelligence’, ‘blockchain’ and ‘online identity management’ are likely to displace the current value propositions of badges. More consideration around the notion of brand-by-association and identity management is needed - for example, institution-branded badges can highlight a person’s recent-graduate status, possibly at the expense of their work experience or specific skill sets. This can have a negative impact on employability in the advertising sector, where crude levels of professional ability are still used.

We therefore make the general recommendation that RMIT University should not move into badges until an open standard format is reliably and more widely supported; until people can effectively incorporate badges into their identity management; and until wider understanding of the value of badges exists - especially in the idea of brand by association. We instead recommend that a range of niche experiments be conducted, each addressing these initial ideas and areas of concern, but from different discipline perspectives. From these experiments, a stronger understanding can be developed in the institution, and across its relevant industry partners, to help ensure better impact at a university wide implementation.

Read more at: https://goo.gl/Oo30G6

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Badges: identify talent and brand by association

  1. 1. BADGES Identify talent and brand by association Leigh Blackall and Karen Carter 2016 | https://goo.gl/Oo30G6 Photo by Detroit Photographic Co. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  2. 2. Findings 1. Badges can highlight an individual’s talent and experience where formal accreditation does not 2. Badges carry a form of ‘brand-by- association’ both for the issuer and the receiver 3. Badges present opportunities for unique methods of advertising Photo: Brownie and Cub compare badges Date: c1983 Photographer: Paul Hourigan
  3. 3. Recommendations Don’t move into badges large scale yet: • until format is reliable and supported • until people can effectively incorporate badges into their identity management; and • until wider understanding of the value of badges exists - especially in the idea of brand by association Conduct niche experiments that explore our findings from different perspectives
  4. 4. By Albert Charles Challen (1847–1881) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 1. Open Badge Infrastructure in 2011 2. Web startups adopt standard in 2013 3. Initiatives begin implementing badges 4. Difficulties in Australian education 2014/15 5. Support for Open Badge Infrastructure wanes 6. Technical infrastructure shifts to Blockchain 7. The “problem” that badges solve, is perhaps bet- ter solved through online identity management BACKGROUND
  5. 5. METHODS IN THIS PROJECT https://www.flickr.com/photos/127576132@N03/22444002966/ ConsultProblematise Concept
  6. 6. ISSUES, LIMITATIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES 1. The industry and our institution is unfamiliar with badges 2. The industry crudely articulates career progression 3. Our time and budget were limited in this project https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/613445810/
  7. 7. 1. RMIT Badges recognised by the Communications Council 2. Using the IPA Professional Development Wheel as a badge system 3. Coactional badging Conceptual progression https://pixabay.com/en/botswana-africa-bottle-caps-badges-970274/ a x x
  8. 8. COACTIONAL BADGING 1. For extra curricular activity 2. Designed for co branding 3. As an advertising device in itself 4. [Advertising] student is badge designer, teacher is badge broker https://www.flickr.com/photos/speedoflife/8274993170
  9. 9. We propose to the Advertising program at RMIT University that coactional badging be delivered as content in the course - a way to practice theories of brand extension, brand equity and co branding. Students are encouraged to design badge campaigns in their internships, or on other recognised client projects, and display those badges in their respective portfolios. We would evaluate the effectiveness of co actional badging by network mapping port- folio websites and interviewing students and industry on their perceptions of their badge campaigns, looking for signs that both the industry and our institution were more familiar and ready to think about badging as a way to increase employment opportunities and show professional development. EVALUATION
  10. 10. 1. Badges can highlight an individual’s talent and experience where formal accreditation does not, such as in co and extracurricular activities, work experience and peer relations and esteem 2. Badges carry a form of ‘brand-by-associa- tion’ both for the issuer and the receiver. That value intersects with notions of online identity management 3. Badges present opportunities for unique methods of advertising, and these methods are potentially new content to be taught in the advertising program, related to co branding theories 4. The technology that facilitates badging remains precarious, disjointed and in competition 5. The developing fields of ‘big data’, ‘artificial intelligence’, ‘blockchain’ and ‘online identity management’ are likely to displace the current value propositions of badges 6. More consideration around the notion of brand-by-association and identity manage- ment is needed. For example, institution- branded badges can have a negative impact on employability, by highlighting a person’s recent-graduate status instead of their work experience or specific skill sets Conclusions

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