Companies expecting the Games to have no impact will miss out – there’s much business to be had, says Danielle Pinnington

According to Deloitte's Games Readiness report released last week, more than two-thirds of UK companies are expecting no impact on their businesses from the 2012 Olympics.

And 70% of retail businesses reported that they expected no impact at all on sales. Shocking stuff having the Olympics on home soil is a once-in-a-lifetime event and it's down to retailers and brands to maximise the opportunities it presents.

The event encompasses a wide range of interests appealing to a varied audience and a multitude of different age groups. As such it has huge potential to deliver sales increases. This, however, assumes that companies who are sponsors or partners of the event are thinking about the in-store opportunity.

Sponsorship typically focuses on building brand equity or awareness through the link with a particular event or personality. But just because a consumer is aware of a sponsorship link it doesn't necessarily lead to a change in their in-store behaviour. Brand equity and awareness is great, but only part of what persuades a shopper to buy.

Marketing campaigns will have to work from event right through to shelf. By putting more consideration into the opportunities in-store, brands can be confident their spend will drive an increase in sales.

However, the Olympics also presents retailers and brands with a number of challenges. The schedule is vast and messages can get lost in the whir of background noise. Brands will need to work hard to keep the buzz going. From a pure marketing perspective there's a limit on brand visibility opportunities in the event venues and there's always the risk of 'ambush marketing' like we saw at the World Cup this year.

It's important to make sure the Olympic message is clear. Consider shelf-ready packaging or a gondola end to really make your message stand out. Go beyond the packaging and really develop the story, tuning into a shopper's vision for how they're going to use these items and plant a thought for an event they could do themselves.

Inspire shoppers to get involved in this event, and to buy your products as part of that involvement.

Danielle Pinnington ismanaging director of Shoppercentric.