With the opening ceremony of The London 2012 olympic and Paralympic Games just around the corner, a question posed by many has been: ‘How will this benefit me and what difference will it make to my business and my day-to-day life?’ Hopefully now, with the high-profile media focus and positivity around the nationwide Olympic torch relay, the answers are starting to become clearer.

What people must realise is that this is truly a national event, bringing international sportspeople and millions of tourists to the whole country - not just the capital.

Residents outside London may be unaware of the array of activities and events on their doorsteps, such as the 20 live screens being set up across the country. Many regional venues are hosting events such as rowing, football and canoeing. And many counties have an affiliation with a GB competitor, another indicator of how the entire nation could easily benefit from increased tourism and ultimately revenue.

In 2010, Cadbury became the official treat provider of the Games. At the heart of our campaign was the Spots v Stripes platform, based on the idea that playing games helps bring people together and build local spirit. More than 137,000 people have played Spots v Stripes games at over 2,200 community events and 3,599 volunteers have been recruited to run the games playing sessions, engaging with more than 1,000 community groups.

“Getting involved through activities can help retailers to stand out”

Cadbury has also supported GB athletes through nationwide campaigns such as ‘Postcards’, which to date has seen more than 48,000 members of the public write messages of support to athletes. Similarly, the ‘Keep Team GB Pumped’ campaign encouraged the public to record musical tracks to motivate our athletes while training.

These campaigns have helped build consumer and retailer anticipation. Retailers are at the heart of the community, so have a key role to play in engaging consumers through events and activities in-store. From a commercial perspective, community involvement is vital, but helping residents come together can be rewarding in itself. Cadbury has offered advice to all its customers in the build-up to London 2012 on how to maximise the opportunity.

There are many brands sponsoring the Games, and realising that not everyone would be able to purchase tickets, we are bringing the event to the people by offering tickets and VIP packages via on-pack competitions as well as to retailers via press competitions. Last month, we also announced our ‘pop-up’ Cadbury House experience in Hyde Park. This week our new on-pack promotion ‘You win if they win’ launches.

London 2012 has provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - but it is key that the impetus provided by the Games is long-term .

The world will be watching how the UK manages the ultimate challenge. This is our opportunity to not only capitalise on it from a business perspective, but also show the world we are a proud host nation and can deliver an event everyone will be proud to have been a part of.