Debate on AA logo use reaches "no change" verdict
26th November 2010
At the end of October the AA opened an on-line consultation with its members about changes to its membership grade structure, the most significant item being the use of the AA logo. During the AA’s 46-year history the issue has been debated many times before and has proved to be very contentious.
AA logo use is currently limited to those individuals and businesses that have proved their competence – either through the AA Registered Consultant (RC) or AA Approved Contractor (AC) schemes. Currently there are 45 RCs and 150 ACs which leaves around 90% of the AA’s 2,000 members unable to use the AA logo.
159 members responded to an on-line survey posted at the end of October and advertised by a flyer mailed to every member. 147 of these responses were validated (the rest discarded because they did not conform to the survey rules requiring the name of the respondent to be declared).
A summary of the main findings is as follows
1. Over 90% of respondents agreed that the AA was not widely known in UK society
2. In terms of raising awareness of the AA, members were asked if allowing wider use of the AA logo (by members as well as RCs and AC) would help.
· 61% of respondents said it would help increase awareness of the AA in UK society (11% said it would hinder and 28% said it would neither help nor hinder)
· 53% of respondents said it would help increase awareness of the AA in related industry sectors (12% said it would hinder and 35% said it would neither help nor hinder)
3. When asked which AA membership grades should be allowed to use the AA logo, if any, the majority of respondents suggested that the logo should be made available to Professional grade members and above, i.e. Professional and Fellow grades as well as RCs and ACs
4. A preamble to the survey suggested to members that allowing wider use of the AA logo would probably increase the AA’s profile (members being identifiable by their displaying of the AA logo) but could also damage the AA’s reputation if those members (who had not had to prove competence through either the RC or AC schemes) undertook poor tree work. Members were asked if they thought that the benefits of increasing the AA’s awareness outweighed risk of damaging the AA’s reputation through occasional poor tree work standards or if that risk was too great and the logo should remain only available to RCs and ACs.
· 50% of respondents said they were concerned that allowing the AA logo to be used by members who had not proved their competence through the RC or AC schemes could damage the AA’s reputation if they were seen to perform poor tree work, and that the risk to the AA was such that the logo should be restricted to RCs and ACs. The principle concerns cited were that allowing wider use of the logo would devalue the RC and AC schemes and confuse the marketplace (i.e. make it difficult to recognise who has been assessed and who has not)
· 37% of respondents said a higher AA profile was worth the risk
· 13% of respondents provided other suggestions for increasing awareness of the AA, the most common suggestions were to allow wider use of the logo but design a new logo (one for members that is different from the logo currently used by RCs and ACs) and market the AA more effectively without allowing wider AA logo use
5. Of the other issues raised more than three-quarters of respondents thought the AA membership discount scheme should be extended to include Ordinary grade members and thought that access to Professional membership by assessment should make better provision for those from a training background and that the grade Corporate Gold should be removed.
The AA’s Board of Directors considered every vote, including 195 written representations made as part of the on-line survey or submitted independently of the survey. The AA’s Board has concluded that
1. As history shows, use of the AA logo is a very contentious issue
2. There are other ways of raising awareness of the AA and allowing a wider use of the logo must not be considered in isolation of other marketing initiatives
3. A decision to allow wider logo use cannot easily be reversed and so the right decision must be made first time
4. The number of respondents (147 respondents of the AA’s 2,023 members) is an insufficient proportion of the membership (about 7%) upon which to make a definitive decision on such a significant issue
5. Many valid points have been made, on both sides of the argument, and further work is required on this issue. For the time being there is to be no change and therefore only RCs and ACs can use the AA logo.
The Board is very grateful to those who completed the survey and took part in the debate and plans to revisit the issue in the future, taking on board the valuable input received from members to date.
About the respondents
147 surveys were completed, representing about 7% of the AA’s 2,023* members. Of this 147:
· 64 respondents (44% of the total number of respondents) were ACs (responding either as an AC or as an individual member managing an AC business). This shows that 43% of all ACs completed the survey
· 18 respondents (12% of the total number of respondents) were RCs. This shows that 40% of all RCs completed the survey
· 65 respondents (44% of the total number of respondents) were neither RCs nor ACs. This shows that about 3.6% of all AA members (who are not RCs or ACs) completed the survey.
* The AA has 2,023 members as at 22 November 2010 made up of 250 corporate (company) members and 1,773 individual members
Last Updated: 29/11/2010 10:50 AM