The Olympics. Heard of them?They were that thing that's been on TV for the past two weeks, and transformed a nation from one of doubters and pessimists into one of flag-waving, enthusiastic supporters of the greatest show on earth. I will say straight away I was always a supporter of the Games; being the eternal optimist, and dedicated to the cause of sport anytime of the year, I truly believed that Britain would be able to host a successful Olympics that would inspire a nation - Korean flag and security gaffes aside. With any event of this size some things will go wrong, but it is about how you manage these inevitable hiccups that is important, rather than being fixated upon them.Now whilst so many aspects of the previous few weeks are worth commenting on - the grandeur of the ceremonies, the dedication of the athletes, the commitment and boundless enthusiasm of the volunteers - what I'd like to draw attention to is something less focused on. That is the success of the branding.Merchandise sales for Adidas and Team GB have already broken targets set, and I've lost count of the number of people who have told me they would have loved to have been involved more in the Olympics, through either volunteering or simply watching. The crowds of people on the marathon and road cycling courses are a testament to the passion the Olympics have instilled in the people of Britain, whilst running through central London I can't help notice how every Wenlock and Mandeville statue always has a crowds of families around it. Today it was announced it was the largest television event in British history, whilst a whopping 80% of the country said they are now 'more proud' to be British. The Olympics has truly captured the hearts and minds of the country, in a nation where we are known for being at times cynical and reserved. The strength of the brand identity of the games has truly inspired people to get firmly behind the Games, wear their Team GB kit and support the home athletes in any endeavour, from athletics to handball to rhythmic gymnastics.This is a message that can be taken to heart by any organisation. If you build a brand within your company that people want to work for, not only are people more engaged within the business, but more people want to work for it. The reason most people apply for the Starbucks, the Googles, the Twitters is that people identify with the values of the organisation; building a strong employer brand is the cost-effective, impactful way of strengthening engagement both internally and externally, yet is something that most companies continue to ignore. And this is why I am particularly looking forward to the session on talent and employer branding at this year's Annual Conference. Case studies from Nestle and Hilton will demonstrate how to improve the brand identity of your business, to help unite your organisation, drive engagement and attract talent. The importance of effective branding can be clearly seen by these Olympics, and I'm sure this session should provide some fantastic guidance on how to transform your workforce into one full of passionate and dedicated brand ambassadors of your company. To see the full conference agenda for our 2012 Annual Conference and to book your place for this year, go to:http://www.cipd.co.uk/cande/annual/
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