Melanie ShrefflerMember since June 2006 Contact Melanie
- Editorial Director Deep Focus
- 25 Broadway
- New York New York
- 10004 USA
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
- Gen Y Perplexed By Teens' Love Of Shop Jeen in
As every young generation grows up, it eventually finds itself on the outside of pop culture looking on in a state of confusion as a new generation rises to put its own stamp on society. Certain signifiers solidify this feeling among the older cohort-think, for example, of Gen Xers' love for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" that Boomers simply couldn't understand or Millennials' passion for YouTube celebrities that Xers still don't quite get. These inflection points mark the beginning of a changing of the guard among the keepers of youth culture. Millennials, the oldest of whom are well into their mid-30s, may be having such a moment as they hear from their younger counterparts about Shop Jeen, the online storefront and brand that "should come with a seizure warning," according to "New York" magazine.
- The Retail Revolution in
Not so long ago, when a teen decided he needed a new pair of sneakers, the first step in his process would be to plan a trip to the mall. Today, teens' path to purchase for nearly any product, from buying shoes to picking a restaurant, is increasingly diverging from traditional retail processes. Technology has had an obvious impact on young people's shopping habits, but so have key shifts in consumer mindset.
- Gen Z Gets Schooled in
When Millennials were in high school, getting into the best college was paramount in their lives. As the largest generation on record, they knew there would be stiff competition to be accepted into their dream university. For many, the entirety of their secondary education was devoted to achieving this goal. This caused them plenty of stress in the build-up, and, in the end, their reward for achieving the desired result was a heap of student debt-which rose to more than $35,000 for the class of 2015. As Gen Zs have replaced Gen Y in high schools, their approach to college admissions and their perception of the value of a degree are shifting dramatically from that of previous generations.
- Working For A Living in
Summer is just around the corner, and the vast majority of young people will find themselves out of school with months of time to fill before they have to once again set foot in a classroom. In previous decades, most would get jobs or help out around the house, but the job market-particularly for entry-level gigs-has dried up and young people are finding it harder to land jobs that were once reserved for teens.
- Trans(itioning) Societal Norms in
Millennials were the first generation of youth with a majority to openly support gay rights. Through their vocal efforts, society as a whole has become more accepting - most Americans now support gay marriage and current culture is inclusive of the gay community. Today's teens have picked up the mantle; "young consumers see a need to achieve the same degree of acceptance and equality for transgender individuals," notes our Gen Z issue. Through teens' efforts and activism around this issue, societal perceptions are gradually beginning to shift.
- Love & Basketball: Lessons From A Young Fan in
While many American sports fans (and brands) are currently absorbed in the annual ritual that is March Madness, marketers should instead be paying attention to the story of Connor, a 16-year-old former Seattle SuperSonics fan. After losing his hometown team to Oklahoma - but not his unwavering passion for the NBA - he has been in search of a new team to root for. So he did what any young consumer trying to make a decision would do: he researched his options.
- Brands Need To Get Emoji-nal in
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
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
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
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.