Growing a Beard this Quarantine? We Got You

Growing a Beard this Quarantine? We Got You

Are you growing a beard this quarantine? You’re not alone. “Beards Are the Hottest Quarantine Trend!” declared InsideEdition. WWD has dubbed “The Corona-Beard” “Men’s New Quarantine Hobby.” GQ went ahead and compiled a list of celebrities hopping on the beard trend that included john Legend, Kid Kudi, and Joe Jonas. And even The New Yorker dedicated full social analysis to the trend: “During the coronavirus pandemic, facial hair has become…a way to convey solidarity from afar.”

It makes sense. Working from home plus free time to dedicate to grooming and maintenance equals…prime quarantine beard growth. It’s like a real-life chia pet you finally have time to show love and attention to! To prevent yourself from looking more like Tom Hanks in Castaway than the handsome devil you are, we asked bearded Bidtellectuals to share their top tips for your quarantine beard from grooming to shampooing. Go forth and grow!

Invest in the right tools.

Invest in a good grooming kit including trimmers, blow dryer, horse hairbrush, and wooden comb. Invest in beard oil or wax(your preference). Wash and condition your beard at least once a week. And if you plan to grow it long be prepared to look unkempt while it grows out. Check out all of the tutorials on YouTube for ideas on how you want to style your beard.

Jason Taylor, Director of Information Technology

Beard Shampoo is key. And Beard Oil is not a scam!

I have been binge-watching Sons of Anarchy, so my motivation to grow a beard is at its peak. Beard shampoo is key for moisturizing and conditioning the skin underneath the beard, but it also helps keep the beard clean and give it a fuller look. I had no idea that the hair on your face is much different than the hair on your head, so your regular hair products (shampoo/conditioner) don’t necessarily work for your face.

Beard oil has been great for styling and giving it a cleaner, maintained look. A wooden beard comb also helps as well. (A plastic hair brush could hurt your beard.) I honestly thought all the beard oil/balms were a scam, but they actually work!

Bobby Niebler, Director of Platform Solutions

Trim weekly.

Use beard oil and wax frequently. Comb daily.

-John Ferber, Founder

I grew out a beard once.

I grew out a beard once and someone sent me Honest Amish Beard Balm to keep it conditioned and smooth.

Tim Chidsey, Software Engineer

The itchiness subsides

Trimming (not for length, but for shape) your beard can help you define its “boundaries,” especially around the mouth and cheeks. I don’t use anything special, but I do condition my beard (with a regular hair conditioner) every few weeks and brush and comb it frequently.

If you’re growing for the first time, the itchiness subsides in 1 – 2weeks. If it goes longer than that, your skin probably won’t tolerate a beard. I use styling wax if I don’t want a “fly-away” look to my whiskers. Also works great if you sport a ponytail.

Shave!

My recco!

John Szumowski, Director of Sales, Southeast

There you have it. If you decided to grow a beard this quarantine, no need to regret it (yet). Follow these tips to make the most of it. Hey, we think you look handsome!

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.

Coronavirus Impact on the Financial Vertical. Our advice? Build trust.

Coronavirus Impact on the Financial Vertical. Our advice? Build trust.

How has the coronavirus crisis has impacted the financial vertical? What has and will emerge is greater attention to savings thanks to financial strain and high unemployment. How should advertising efforts continue and what can we learn from the ’08 crisis?

Predictions for the financial industry

According to Business Insider Intelligence’s research director Dan VanDyke, coronavirus’s impact on the financial institutions will include: lending needs of (individuals and businesses) will heighten; more banks will temporarily suspend or amend loan repayment requirements and fees; falling interest rates will bring down savings rates, but will also fuel a boom in mortgage and auto financing (eMarketer).

As for other fintech sectors: funding totals will be down, stock market volatility will chill consumer investing and digitally-minded insurers will benefit from increased awareness and demand for their services (eMarketer).

Mobile, online, and remote banking options will succeed

The financial services sector is currently facing challenges on multiple fronts: shelter-in-place and social distancing requirements mean that few customers are able to be served in physical branches, putting additional strain on channels like telephone support, online and social media. (Econsultancy) Those well-equipped to handle remote/online banking will be well-prepared to weather the crisis, and fintech companies are well-placed to deal with digital demand and remote working requirements (Econsultancy).

  • 29% of US internet users conduct mobile banking on a phone; 27%sometimes (eMarketer, February 2020)
  • 89% of adults in India consider banks an essential service (eMarketer, May 2020)

Young adults are especially worried about the financial impact

With the unemployment rate now at a record 14.7% due to the crisis, consumers are rightfully worried about their personal financial situation, including keeping up with basic expenses. Studies show millennials are feeling more worried than their older cohorts. Several surveys support this notion:

  • 25% of 18-to-29s reported being “financially affected by the coronavirus,” along with 24% of 30-to-44s, 28% of 45-to-64s, and 21%of those ages 65 and older (Economist/YouGov polling via eMarketer, April 2020)
  • 80% of 25-to-44s said they were worried about their “personal financial situation,” vs. 78% of 18-to-24s, 74% of 45-to-64s, and 62%of those 65 and older. (Elon University survey via eMarketer, March 2020)
  • 47% of 18 to 34-year-olds are concerned about paying for basic needs without going into debt (LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey via eMarketer, May 2020)
  • 51% of 18 to 34-year-olds are concerned about paying rent/mortgage as compared to 38% and 14% (LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey via eMarketer, May 2020)

How to Advertise: Takeaways from ’08

Budget Shifted to Digital:

After ‘08, U.S. ad spending plummeted but accelerated the shift to digital advertising, particularly online video and mobile usage. In 2011, Geoff Ramsey, the chief executive of eMarketer, made a statement to the New York Times: “The bad economy has actually accelerated the shift to digital advertising. Online ads, especially search ads, are increasingly seen by many marketers as a more reliable bet than print ads, which are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result.” (New York Times, 2011) In the same article, Brian Wieser, executive vice president and director of global forecasting at Magnaglobal reiterated, “The fastest-growing media will be online video and mobile” (New York Times in 2011). Similarly, we have already seen a massive increase in internet usage and online news consumption.

Post-’08 Examples: “Bank Solid. Bank U.S. Bank.” Readers understand the implicit call to action: “You should be banking at US Bank.” Similarly, the short message “Had Enough Excitement?” offers a cheeky take on the same ‘safe and sound’ message that communicates mutual understanding. “When turbulence and uncertainty surround us, we look to those who have proven themselves over time” offers a grownup, somber tone that shows prudence, reliability, and trustworthiness.

“Safe and Sound” Today, the brands that will make the greatest impact and weather the storm are those that can get positive, educational, and valuable content in front of people. Financial institutions and fintech, in particular, need to prioritize building trust, offering sound advice, and pushing longevity and experience; consumers are craving steady, stable, “safe and sound” figures that care deeply. Further, in times where our security is threatened, people are hardwired to seek clarity and calm, according to Econsultancy.

The importance of trust

Not only should trust, reliability, and compassion factor into brand messaging, but halting messaging completely will break trust with the consumer. Says eMarketer, institutions that were slow to respond will face a deficit of consumer trust in the coming months—and depending on their role, tough questions to answer.

  • 29% of Americans have already begun using a brand due to the innovative or compassionate way they’ve responded to the COVID-19 crisis. (Edelman)
  • 43% say they want messages that are reassuring from brands they know and trust (AAAA)
  • Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, who happen to be strangers, than advertisements. (Hubspot, 2019)
  • 75% saying brands should inform people of what they’re doing (Kantar Research)
  • Key takeaways: Build trust, Offer sound advice; Steady, stable, “safe and sound;” Longevity, experience; Prudent Approach – Care deeply
  • Trust Native Over Social Native ads garner greater levels of trust among consumers with a third (33%) more likely to trust native advertising than traditional advertising, and that clicking on a native ad driver on a premium content website has a greater impact than clicking via Facebook. (NAI study)

Bottom line: the coronavirus crisis’s impact on the financial vertical will likely be felt for a while. In this uncertain time, it’s important for financial services to build trust with the consumer, stay present, steady, and don’t go radio silent.

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.

The Current State of Higher Education and Coronavirus

The Current State of Higher Education and Coronavirus

How has the coronavirus crisis has impacted education? What will students trend towards and how can colleges, universities, and alternate learning programs adjust their solutions and messaging?

Current State of Education

Coronavirus may have sent students home early, but on the other side of this crisis is a chance for a reimagining of “traditional” education: skill-specific online courses, shorter degree timelines, and a more flexible approach to higher education, combining community college, online, and four-year institution education programs. Those with the greatest chance of weathering the storm will be those adopting flexible learning options, technology solutions, and – especially – online learning.

Here’s the current numbers:

  • U.S. colleges are predicting $100 million losses for the spring along with millions in lost ticket sales as athletic seasons were cut short (AP News)
  • A higher education trade group has predicted a 15% drop in enrollment nationwide, amounting to a $23 billion revenue loss. (New York Times)
  • Simpson Scarborough predicts a possible 20% decline in domestic undergraduate enrollment for 4-year institutions.

 

Technology Adjustment and Rise of Online Education

Colleges and universities have already recognized the importance of incorporating technology into learning programs. Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, and this will only increase post-coronavirus crisis. And language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, have seen a significant surge in usage since COVID-19 (WeForum).

  • Education providers will increase their tech budgets by 5.9%. Demand for education services is still strong, but disenchantment with the results of online education has introduced caution into tech investments. (Forrester)
  • Cengage has seen a 55% increase in the number of students who have signed up for free subscriptions to its online textbooks. (New York Times)
  • The New York Times predicts that faculty will permanently incorporate online tools(to which many are being exposed for the first time) into conventional classes.
  • The overall market for online education is projected to reach $350 Billion by2025 (WeForum)

 

Online learning and community colleges will fare the best

Online Learning Institutions Can Teach Colleges Something

Online learning works well for developing specific skills and second careers/career pivots, but many institutions are still working out the kinks (to put it mildly). Among those that have mastered online learning are dedicated online institutions like Coursera and Udacity, who also partner with universities and companies. They tend to offer a mixed model of free and paid-for learning options of varying lengths.“Digital-skills jobs will be where there is the greatest demand,” Mr. Maggioncalda said, “and those jobs will be less likely to be affected by pandemics in the future.” (New York Times)

  • Udacity courses take most students four to six months to complete, if they put in10 hours a week. The average cost is $1,200. (New York Times)
  • Coursera collaborates with 200+ universities and companies, including DukeUniversity and Google, according to their website.
  • Before the pandemic hit, Coursera projected growth of 30% this year to more than$200 million. (New York Times)
  • Fewer than 10% of Coursera students pay for courses; they take them free. (New York Times)
  • 60% of students in Coursera degree programs try free courses first. (New York Times)

 

Students Are Willing to Move Online

Those that do offer online courses are ahead of the game, offering cost-saving convenience and safety. Real online education lets students move at their own pace and includes such features as continual assessments so they can jump ahead as soon as they’ve mastered a skill, according to Eric Fredericksen, associate vice president for online learning at the University of Rochester. (New York Times)

  • About a third of surveyed students plan to enroll in an online college post-COVID (SimpsonScarborough)
  • 15% of college students who, when given the option to finish their degree online or complete their degree in-person, want to finish online (SimpsonScarborough)
  • More than half of American adults who expect to need more education or training after this pandemic say they would do it online, according to a survey of 1,000 people (Strada Education Network)
  • Minorities are disproportionately affected by the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis: 41% (vs. 24%) of minority high school seniors won’t attend college in the fall and 18% (vs. 13%) will finish college online(SimpsonScarborough)

Traditional Colleges Need to Improve Their Online Learning

If traditional colleges plan to permanently adopt online learning, they have some learning to do themselves. Studies show that students aren’t as happy with the online experience – namely, that they don’t feel they are learning enough or that the quality matches the in-person learning experience. Still, online higher education “is a thin diet for the typical 18-year-old,” said Richard Garrett, the chief research officer at Eduventures. “But today’s 18-year-olds are tomorrow’s 28-year-olds with families and jobs, who then realize that online can be useful.” (New York Times)

Part of the issue is the time and resources it takes to build out a successful online course; COVID left many scrambling to catch up, exposing weaknesses.“Developing a genuine online course or program can consume as much as a year of faculty training and collaboration with instructional designers, and often requires student orientation and support and a complex technological infrastructure.” (New York Times)

 

  • 75% of students said they don’t think they’re receiving a quality learning experience online (OneClass via New York Times)
  • 67% of college and graduate students said they didn’t nd online classes as effective as in-person ones (niche.com poll via New York Times, April)
  • A few top-tier universities, such as the University of Michigan and the Georgia Institute of Technology, already offer some full degree programs through online platforms. (New York Times)

Cost-Saving Community Colleges Will Grow (even more) in Popularity

There is already a growing trend of students starting college by way of a community college first to complete general requirements before transferring into a more rigorous four-year institution. It saves money and time. For those financially strained after the crisis, the community college choice is a no-brainer, even for the remainder of school, as well. Administrators anticipate that students grappling with the financial and psychological impacts of the virus could choose to stay closer to home, go to less expensive schools, take a year off or not go to college at all. (New York Times)

  • 26% of college students said they were unlikely to return to their current college or university in the Fall. (SimpsonScarborough)
  • 5% of high school seniors and 4% of current college students say they will enroll at a different institution (SimpsonScarborough)
  • Nearly half of surveyed students plan to attend a community college due to the crisis (SimpsonScarborough)

Messaging Suggestions

We’ve said it before: build trust. Be present, offer solutions with prudence and sensitivity, and pay special attention to cost and technology capabilities.

  • Be mindful of cost: advertise low-cost and flexible learning options, as well as free trials.
  • Advertise the advanced nature of or improvement of your online learning program capabilities; many students are disillusioned with “Zoom learning”
  • Offer free or discounted learning tools such as online textbooks to help offset costs of learning further.
  • Be sensitive to the changes and mindful of coming off tone-deaf; offer hope and promise of a better future.
  • Over-communicate: 69% of college students who say their institution’s COVID-19 communications are fair or poor have a worse opinion of the school than they did before the pandemic hit (SimpsonScarborough)

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.

Bidtellectuals Share Their Favorite Quarantine Reads

Bidtellectuals Share Their Favorite Quarantine Reads

I asked Bidtellectuals to share their favorite quarantine reads or books they’d recommend. Each is linked to the book or author’s website so you can and the easiest place to buy it. (Unless your local library has opened up – in which case, lucky you!)

One good thing about self-isolating and quarantining is (assuming you are graced with good health) a chance to get lost in a new book – an activity our busy lives seldom leave time for. It’s a chance to learn something new, travel halfway around the world from your couch, or gain empathy for an entire new way of life. In the words of Fran Lebowitz: “A book is not supposed to be a mirror. It’s supposed to be a door.”

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called MarshGirl. But Kya is not what they say.

“It is a coming of age story with a murder twist that you will not see coming! I had to re-read the last few chapters because I was so surprised I could not believe what happened. I follow Reese’s Book Club on Instagram and have not been disappointed with her suggestions yet!”

Abigail Kozacek Bojanic, Account Manager – Central

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death.

“I’m reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, a non-fiction book told in a narrative style that delves into the history of Chicago in the late19th century around the 1893 World’s Fair. This was an era when city architecture was really beginning to burgeon in the major US cities. Thesignicance and hype of building + hosting the Fair event served as an impetus for numerous serial killings that would occur. What I’ve enjoyed is how the book fuses history, architecture, and murder mystery so well. I’ve learned a lot and am excited for the Hulu series to eventually come out starring Leonardo DiCaprio directed by Martin Scorsese!”

Nicholas Herbst, Platform Solutions Analyst

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Based on years of immersive reporting and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy. “A work of deep observation, long conversations, and a kind of journalistic alchemy” (KateTuttle, NPR), Three Women introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.

“A standout among the many nonfiction books I read. Follow along as three real women grapple with secrets and taboos. It’s raw and addicting. My jaw dropped many times. Add to your quarantine reads.”

Carissa Parrish, Director of Sales, East

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman

In this arresting memoir about growing up in—and ultimately escaping from—a strict Hasidic community, Deborah Feldman reveals what life is like trapped within a religious sect that values silence and suffering over individual freedoms.

“Fascinating, illuminating, inspiring… Even more so given I lived in CrownHeights, Brooklyn for a couple of years amongst a sect of the Hasidic community that I clearly knew so little about. The Netflix series inspired by this memoir is also amazing, although a completely different story in many ways (they made some key changes to make it more appealing for television). I recommend adding this to your list of quarantine reads, reading it, then watching the series. You won’t able to put it down. Deborah is inspiring.”

Charlotte Otremba, Sr. Manager Marketing and Communications

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

“I really like epic fantasy settings with engaging plot lines.”

Mitchell Enfield, UI/UX Developer

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

On the night before he was to turn forty, Rich Roll experienced a chillingglimpse of his future. Nearly fifty pounds overweight and unable to climb the stairs without stopping, he could see where his current sedentary life was taking him—and he woke up. Finding Ultra is an incredible but true account of achieving one of the most awe-inspiring midlife physical transformations ever.

“Inspired me to get running!”

Michael Feeley, VP Supply Partnerships and Product Solutions

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

In his #1 New York Times bestseller, The 5 Love Languages®, Dr. GaryChapman presents a simple truth: relationships grow better when we understand each other. Everyone gives and receives love differently, but with a little insight into these differences, we can be confidently equipped to communicate love well.

Jason Boshoff, COO

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

The book that makes marketing easy.

“The best and simplest approach I have learned to ensure your potential clients understand your value proposition.”

Michael Feeley, VP Supply Partnerships and Product Solutions

$2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin

After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen since the mid-1990s — households surviving on virtually no income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children.

“Some of the stories are unimaginable yet potentially timely in today’s uncertainty. Great book to add to your quarantine reads.”

Michael Feeley, VP Supply Partnerships and Product Solutions

I hope you found this recommendation list of quarantine reads helpful! Remember, there’s no quicker escape from life than opening a book. Enjoy.

By the way – we’re adding new videos every week to our YouTube channel! Stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Watch here.

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.

This Week in Digital Advertising: May 1

This Week in Digital Advertising: May 1

Hello Bidtellectuals. Here’s the latest in the digital advertising industry.

Don’t feel like reading? Watch here or below.

It’s May! Can you believe it? How long have we been self-isolating again? It feels like both a week and a year. While you’re reading this, why not make a cocktail? Up your zoom happy hours with one of these fun quarantine cocktail recipes. It’ll cure whatever you’re missing. And while you’re at it, a big toast to Nick Gomez, who was crowned Bidtellectual of the Week last week! Go Nick!

Remember a couple of weeks ago when we said to not block coronavirus content? We break down the latest data – including our own platform’s – to help you decide if placing an ad next to coronavirus content really hurts your brand. Only a mere 16% say they are NOT likely to engage with an ad adjacent to Coronavirus content, according to IAS. Meanwhile, according to Bidtellect’s platform data, we’ve seen a 23% increase in traffic on News-related sites since the coronavirus outbreak started and a 17.1% decrease in average impression costs from January 2020 to March 2020. The great irony of the coronavirus crisis is its driven massive growth in news consumption, but publishers are unable to monetize it. News publishers are twice as likely to be blacklisted vs. others. For more on this, watch or listen to our special-edition Bidtellect Beat: Digital Edition below.

IAB’s latest report is tentatively hopeful: Digital ad spend is experiencing a slight rebound, although is still o􀃠-plan. Brands are hopeful for an uptick this summer. Those channels with greater flexibility and agility in creating, editing and optimizing creative will experience less of an impact. For tips on refreshing creative, read this. And it’s (still) tax season! Read how this tax solutions provider beat their CPA goal by76% in this case study.

Have you been staying up late at night wondering about Bidtellect’s origin story? Wonder no more: read this interview with founder John Ferber in The Tech Tribune. We’re feeling nostalgic! And while you’re inspired, if you’re looking to upgrade your work habits and productivity, self-isolation is a perfect time. Think of it as a “clean slate” and follow this advice by Fast Company. If you’re craving a cultural experience, the MoMA is offering free weekly virtual tours of their exhibits. Last week was Dorothea Lang’s photography exhibit and this May 7th they’ll tour their sculptural gardens followed by a meditation. Swoon.

Stay healthy and stay safe.

Charlotte

For more on whether or not you should block coronavirus content, watch or listen here:

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Charlotte Otremba is Sr. Manager of Communications and Marketing at Bidtellect.