Updated: Jul 21, 2020

The Corona virus pandemic has changed our lives irrevocably. Despite our quiet optimism that once we're passed the peak or once a vaccine is developed that we'll go back to 'normal', i think we all know that it will be a whole new 'normal'. Already we've adapted to the current conditions - and it hasn't just been a change in hygiene awareness - it has changed how we live, work, play, travel and shop. It's also changed our online behaviour.

Locked down at home without an office to travel to, live concerts or sports matches to attend or restaurants and bars to dine and socialise in, we're all spending a lot more of our available time online. There has been a major increase in the consumption of online media as most of the population uses digital devices to connect with colleagues, engage with friends and family, stay updated with news and keep entertained through social media and other online platforms. It's as though remaining part of an online community meant we didn't have to endure social distancing alone.

Whilst some companies chose to lie low during lockdown, it was the marketers and businesses who made effective use of content and provided ways to overcome challenges or hardships as a result of the pandemic, that were rewarded with almost three times their usual engagement. With consumers showing fundamental shifts in purchase and consumption behaviour, it is these brands who have created awareness, nurtured relationships and built trust and loyalty. I, for one, have utilised this lockdown period to make personal judgements about brands I will support in future based on how they have treated consumers and employees during this time. As a business owner who understands the concept of fluidity, I do understand that many companies were caught between a rock and a hard place when it came to just how much financial relief they could offer, but for others, it was seen as an opportunity to capitalise on an already vulnerable market by inflating prices of various items including masks and other PPE (here's looking at you #Dischem).

With lockdown far from over, it's clear that brands and companies who haven't yet adapted their online strategies, content plans and their social conversations need to quickly jump on the proverbial wagon sooner than later. 'Business as usual' type content has seen a reduction in engagement, with the post-Covid consumer becoming increasingly selective, partial and discerning.

As a publication, we're feeling vindicated in the decision to move to the digital space (ironically before the threat of Covid was even known) and have great confidence in our ability to provide a platform and resources for our equine community to thrive once again as the lockdown lifts.

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