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Melanie Shreffler

Member since June 2006 Contact Melanie

Melanie is a unique combination of trend expert, writer, and researcher with a passion for following youth culture and consumers' ever-changing media habits. As Editorial Director at Deep FOcus, she is a contributor to the Cassandra Report and Cassandra Daily.

Articles by Melanie All articles by Melanie

  • Brands Need To Get Emoji-nal in Engage:Teens on 02/19/2015

    Don't be fooled into thinking that the simplicity of emojis means they aren't incredibly powerful tools. Just as previous generations of teens became reliant on text abbreviations and eventually pushed them into the mainstream, the same is true of today's teens and emojis. They serve as a quick way for young people to convey what they're doing and how they're feeling without having to tap out a single word.

  • Embrace Your Inner Weirdo in Engage:Teens on 01/15/2015

    At times, scrolling through Instagram can seem like viewing a sea of sameness. With photo filters and guides to taking the perfect selfie, it's easier than ever to present a highly polished image of oneself on social media. While that means the social sphere has gotten more attractive, it also means that it's becoming increasingly difficult for teens to stand out among all of the photos of people simply looking good. As a result, what's now grabbing young people's attention is when someone is daring enough to break the mold of the stereotypical pretty/handsome/cute aesthetic and instead broadcast their weirdness. Among teens, going against the norm and owning one's quirks can earn more social cred than presenting an overly perfect image.

  • Getting Personal With Young Consumers in Engage:Teens on 12/18/2014

    Teens are limiting their social circles by choice. Our report found that only 30% of teens aged 14-17 have a large social network, compared to 45% of 18- to 34-year-olds. Teens have seen the effect that mass-scale social media has had on their older counterparts and don't want to repeat the same mistakes. When they first arrived on social media, Gen Ys strived to attain vast, extensive networks, but eventually realized that many people in the group of "friends" they had acquired were little more than acquaintances and random connections that added little to their lives. Teens, on the other hand, are choosing quality over quantity as they form their social networks. They value close, meaningful relationships more than having a lot of friends.

  • 5 Trends For 2015 in Engage:Teens on 11/20/2014

    As 2014 nears to a close, here are a few key trends that will rise to prominence in the coming year. These growing shifts are all intrinsically tied to teens' cultural interests and personal habits. As their lives evolve and what's cool is constantly in flux, marketers need to be on top of these changes in teens' mindset and attitudes in order to find the best ways and most relevant content to reach young consumers.

  • Think Globally, Act Socially in Engage:Teens on 10/16/2014

    As teens, Millennials were very cause-minded, bringing issues such as recycling, gay rights, and animal welfare to the forefront. Today, teens around the globe are carrying on the tradition of youth inciting social action by calling attention to a fresh set of issues including climate change, the unequal distribution of wealth, and gender equality. But they're approaching these problems with unique perspectives as truly global citizens who are also highly confident about their ability to effect change worldwide.

  • The Social Star in Engage:Teens on 09/18/2014

    As teens are changing their media habits, moving away from traditional TV viewing to spending more time with other entertainment formats-namely YouTube, Instagram, and Tumblr-their interest in traditional celebrities has waned. According to the pop-culture issue of The Cassandra Report, 14- to 18-year-olds under-index on liking to talk about celebrities with friends (34%), being inspired by celebrities (34%), and feeling that celebrities are relatable (21%). Social media personalities are filling the void; teens are turning to this new set of tastemakers, who happen to be regular teens, just like them.

  • The 'G' Word in Engage:Teens on 08/21/2014

    The term feminism may be out of fashion with teen girls, but the concept of being a strong, confident, empowered woman most certainly is not. In recent weeks, several brands have entered the conversation around how we perceive girls in today's world. They are multifaceted modern young women-simultaneously tough and feminine, savvy and pretty. Brands are showing their support by showcasing such complexities in their campaigns and forming a bond of mutual respect with their teen girl consumers.

  • Dorm Decor That Makes The Grade in Engage:Teens on 07/17/2014

    It may be the middle of summer, but kids and families are already thinking about back-to-school as brands and retailers bombard them with deals and sales. For 17- and 18-year-olds, back-to-school = off-to-college and their first foray into freedom from their helicopter parents. And their parents want to ensure their children are well set-up to succeed in college, and that means supplying them with everything from traditional school supplies to cool tech devices to a fun and functional dorm room.

  • Big Businesses Are Betting On These Entrepreneurs in Engage:Teens on 06/19/2014

    In the '90s film "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead," a teenage character portrayed by Christina Applegate lies about her age to land a fashion gig at a company that makes school uniforms. (Spoiler alert!) She ultimately saves the company, and her boss is praised for having hired a teen to get the youth perspective. What once was a Hollywood fantasy has become reality.

  • Summer Fun & Summer Funds  in Engage:Teens on 05/15/2014

    Just over a quarter of 16-to-19 year olds (27%) had summer jobs in 2013, according to research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, down from 45% in 2000. The employment picture for teens in 2014 doesn't look much better, but they don't necessarily mind.

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