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Advertising of Professional Services - A Guideline

The Code of Ethics establishes the duty of APEGGA members to maintain the dignity and prestige of their profession. They must act with fairness and good faith toward other professional members and in the area of advertising of professional services avoid conduct which would detract from the image of the professions.

Advertising of professional services has significant potential to influence the public perception of the professions as well as the individual relationships between members and their clients. The purpose of this guideline is to assist members of APEGGA to optimize their long range effectiveness as professionals by maintaining a public image that projects pride, competence and dependability.

The electronic media is of ever increasing importance and popularity on the local, national and global scene for the dissemination and gathering of information. With such a large audience it becomes doubly important that the guiding principles for advertising by APEGGA members be carefully considered and adhered to.

The advertising of professional services concepts described in this Guideline represent a standard of practice all members are encouraged to adopt. Variations in its application can be made to accommodate special circumstances without detracting from its intent. It is not a legal document and is not intended to supersede or replace contractual arrangements designed to satisfy specific situations.

Section 1
Guiding Principles

1.1 General

The purpose of this section is to establish the parameters within which all advertising of professional services decisions are to be made. Statements of principle are used to create a standard against which member conduct in this area can be measured. The statements are conceptual and are designed to provide guidance for advertising of professional services.

1.2 Statements of Principle

  • Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists have a responsibility to assist the public in recognizing when professional assistance may be of benefit, and to assist a potential user in making an informed decision as to which professional to engage.
  • Membership in the Association, implying professional quality services and protection of the public, should be displayed at every appropriate opportunity. Professional and permit stamps shall not be displayed for advertising or commercial purposes.
  • Advertising of professional services shall be designed to complement the professional image and shall be used in such a manner that it enhances the stature of the professions.
  • Statements shall be clear, factual and without exaggeration. They shall be communicated in a manner which is in good taste and upholds the dignity of the professions.
  • The advertising of a professional service means that the service is provided under the direct personal supervision of an APEGGA member who is available to the extent necessary to provide competent direction of the work.
  • Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists shall build their professional reputation on the merits of their own services and shall not criticize others for personal benefit.
  • No reference shall be made in any advertising of professional services to fees and charges for services.
  • Information about fees is meaningful to the prospective client, and is more appropriately provided on a direct consultation basis. Fee information must be clear and accurate, and once established must be honoured in all applicable cases. Please refer to APEGGA guidelines on Fees.

Section 2
Professional Advertising Guidelines

2.1 General

The common forms of advertising of professional services are identified in this section and members are encouraged to use them effectively. Constraints for each are listed to encourage uniformity. The guidelines are intended to be used as typical examples from which deviations should be made only after considering the intent of the guiding principles described in Section 1.

2.2 Forms of Advertising

2.2.1 Professional Cards

Information on professional cards shall be limited to all or part of the following:

  • Name, academic degrees and professional designation
  • Business affiliations
  • Logo, name, address and telephone/fax numbers and E-mail address.
  • Fields of specialization
  • Date of the founding of the Firm and/or years of service.

2.2.2 Stationery

  • Stationery may display all or part of the information permitted on professional cards, company achievement awards and listings of APEGGA members and other key personnel.
  • Membership in APEGGA, both individual and corporate, may be displayed on letterheads. If the names of individuals are listed, their respective designations shall be shown.

2.2.3 Office Signs

  • Office signs shall be informative, in good taste, and limited to information permitted on professional cards. Signs shall also conform aesthetically to other signage on the premises.

2.2.4 Directories

  • Member names, both individual and corporate, may be printed in bold or regular type in the white pages of telephone/fax directories.
  • Advertising in yellow pages of telephone/fax directories, professional or commercial directories shall be restricted to basic corporate and personnel information providing it is factual and presented in a style that maintains the stature and dignity of the profession.

2.2.5 Brochures

  • Brochures and other technical documents may be distributed to inform other prospective clients about a member's experience and capability. Such documents may include photographs, illustrations and technical information describing the actual services provided by the professional member to enable the prospective client to judge the experience and capability of the member or permit holder.
  • A member may display designs or reports that have been prepared for specific projects in newspapers and magazines subject to the appropriate client approval and conformance to these advertising of professional services guidelines.

2.2.6 Insertions in Publications

  • Professional services may be advertised by articles in publications providing they are factual and presented in a style that maintains the stature and dignity of the profession.
  • The text and photographs in paid advertisements must ensure that the actual role played by the professional member or permit holder is described. Such articles or interviews should clearly indicate that they are paid insertions.

2.2.7 Specialties and Testimonials

  • Unpaid testimonials made by a professional member on the product or service of his/her employer or client shall be comprehensive and factual.
  • The prudent use or distribution of promotional items such as pens, rulers, calendars, etc. inscribed with the name and/or logo of a professional member or permit holder is permitted as a method of advertising. Similarly, where sponsoring activities occur the inscribing of athletic caps, sweaters, equipment, etc. with the corporate logo of the professional member or permit holder may be used with discretion.

2.2.8 Announcements

  • Announcements of personnel and corporate changes in the printed and electronic media are permissible. Such announcements may include information permitted for professional cards, a photograph, corporate logo, biographical sketch and brief profile of the company.
  • Advertising for recruitment of personnel shall be factual and shall avoid exaggeration or claims of superiority of the individual or firm over competitors.
  • News releases, editorials and pamphlets produced by the Association for the purpose of publicizing the services that its members render to the general public may be published. Such releases are subject to these guidelines and individual approval by the Council of the Association.

2.2.9 Jobsite Signs

  • Site signs shall be limited to information permitted on professional cards. It is appropriate that special reference be made on the sign to the specialty service being provided on the project.
  • A member may, with the consent of the Owner, affix his name permanently to the work of which he is the engineer of record.

2.2.10 Vehicle Signs

  • Identification signs on vehicles owned or leased by a member exclusively for professional activities shall be limited to the information permitted on professional cards and shall be located on the side of the vehicle.

2.2.11 Radio and Television

  • A member may participate in radio or television programs dealing with the subjects of public interest related to the practice of the professions. The advertising of professional services benefits should be secondary to the public interest aspects of such participation.

2.2.12 Billboards

  • Billboard advertising including displays on transit buses, benches, etc., shall not be used.

2.2.13 Sponsorships

  • The sponsorship of worthwhile public interest activities (scholarships, youth groups, seminars, etc.) are encouraged. The advertising of professional services benefits should be secondary to the public interest of these sponsorships and be carried out in a manner that maintains the stature and dignity of the profession.

2.2.14 Electronic Communication Systems

  • Electronic communication systems are not to be used to advertise fees and charges for professional services. Recorded statements on telephone or voice mail should be limited to corporate information which is clear, factual and without exaggeration.

2.2.15 Internet

  • Professional services may be marketed on the Internet provided that the information is limited to information normally included in corporate brochures (see Section 2.2.5 Brochures). Information could include such areas as corporate background, areas of expertise and experience, organization structure, key personnel, qualifications, technical publications and papers.
  • In accordance with Internet protocol, mass distribution of corporate information for the purpose of soliciting clients shall not be carried out.

Related Topics
  • Annual Reports
  • Guidelines
  • Human Rights
  • Business Plan

    Copyright 2004 The Association of Professional
    Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta.
    All rights reserved

    APEGGA HEAD Office
    1500 Scotia One
    10060 Jasper Ave. NW
    Edmonton AB T5J 4A2
    Tel: 780.426.3990    1.800.661.7020 (within North America)
    Fax: 780.426.1877
    E-mail: email@apegga.org

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    2200 Scotia Centre
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    Tel: 403.262.7714
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