Alliance touts benefits of wi-fi with global effort

It wasn't too long ago that the term "wi-fi" was alien to most computer users.

It wasn't too long ago that the term "wi-fi" was alien to most computer users.

The rise of the technology has literally changed the way business is done, enabling people sitting in a park or a coffee shop to conduct business right there.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit organization made up of more than 300 members from more than 20 countries, has been working with A&R Edelman to educate people about the technology and the group's efforts to standardize it worldwide.

Strategy

With the technology's success dependent on worldwide growth, not only in the West, but in India and China, as well, the organization has been implementing an enthusiastic strategy of education outreach and media relations, says Karen Hanley, senior marketing director for the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Tactics

The team created the Wi-Fi Certified Trademark to ensure wireless local area networking products work with one another. Touting the "Wi-Fi Certified" tag, the team has led education outreach programs around the world, notes Michael Diamond, SVP at A&R Edelman. "In China, for example, our officials are working with officials to educate them on the benefits of wi-fi, and I think we're as successful as we can be, given we're dealing with a competing standard supported by the government there," Diamond says.

Results

The wi-fi industry is growing at a clip of about 20% a year, notes Hanley. In the past two years, Diamond says media impressions have doubled, and last year, the term was incorporated in The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The team has measured favorable impressions on the technology at about 95%. "There's a real hunger for wi-fi," Diamond adds.

Future

With A&R Edelman's help, the Wi-Fi Alliance hopes to continue to build worldwide support for the technology and cement its standing in emerging markets.

Wi-Fi Alliance

PR TEAM: Wi-Fi Alliance (Austin, TX) and A&R Edelman (San Mateo, CA)

CAMPAIGN: Spreading Wi-Fi

DURATION: November 2005-ongoing

BUDGET: Less than $1 million last year

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