Love the CFA logo – but don’t abuse it!

MUCH of the news for the construction industry and the flooring sector during the coronavirus pandemic has been, shall we say … challenging. But there’ve also been a few pleasant surprises. One such surprise for the CFA has been that we’ve received more applications and approved more companies for membership in this first quarter of the 2020/2021 financial year than in any other period on record. Superficially, who would have thought that?!

But I guess I should be more bullish and confident. Of course people and companies want to join the CFA. We offer a ‘great deal’ and I mean that in two senses. A fantastic list of benefits and at a very accessible price.

Currently just £644.00 plus VAT for a contractor member. On a serious note, I’d also add we’ve produced a huge amount of coronavirus-related information to support members during these difficult times and I’ve no doubt that access to this, and our list of benefit helplines, has been key to many of the applications and new memberships approved.

When I joined the CFA, 13 years ago, I remember one council member telling me they were sure many members are initially attracted to the association because of the logo or gaining use of it. However, he worried this was the only reason they joined and sought reassurance this wasn’t the case.

Looking into this at the time, I was encouraged when I spoke to members who disagreed and continue to return year-on-year. I also spoke to marketeers who told me this was in fact a big compliment, something to be protected and that it demonstrated the power of the CFA brand.

Over the years we’ve worked extraordinarily hard to ensure the CFA offering isn’t just about the logo. We continue to build constantly on the benefits available, while also, particularly in times such as these, working to be seen as a trusted source of information.

There’s no doubt the CFA logo remains a core benefit and the ability to display it helps attract business and also makes doing business just that little bit easier. Those who aren’t in membership miss an opportunity to demonstrate they’ve been vetted, have ongoing support and are part of a quality supply chain. For some it’s a requirement of tender, and for others a necessary element to allow them to work for clients including local authorities.

As such, the abuse of the CFA logo has been something that’s concerned the council for many years. One step we took to secure it, was to register the logo as a trademark. By so doing we ensured if anybody uses the logo without the permission of the CFA, it’s a criminal offence. Not a civil matter where we have to instigate legal proceedings and pay for prosecution, but a matter that the Crown, through the Office of Fair Trading, is required to investigate and act on. This can lead to prosecution and fines at no cost to the CFA.

Unfortunately, we still occasionally come across companies using the CFA logo without being members and I suspect many see this as just a little mischievous and an easy way to save a few quid. We don’t see it that way and the CFA council has recently re-enforced its wish for us to ensure, wherever possible, that it’s discouraged.

Including pursuing the more severe penalties mentioned above. In addition, we’ve recently introduced a new membership guideline that in the future any company that’s been found to have abused the CFA logo won’t be allowed to join for a period of time after the logo has been completely removed. Full details can be found on the CFA website.

I don’t wish this to come across as too heavy-handed, but in essence one of the things that drives our new policy is it’s simply unfair for members to pay a fee and benefit from a main advantage of being a CFA member, while others obtain it illegally and for free.

As such, I’d like to thank all the CFA members that do support the association and help us to be the leading trade body for the sector and at the same time encourage you to let us know of companies that might be abusing our logo. We’ll happily follow up your tip-off anonymously.
The message from the CFA council is ‘Love the CFA logo – but don’t abuse it!’
0115 9411126
www.cfa.org.uk