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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

  • The Retail Revolution in Engage:Teens on 07/16/2015

    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 Engage:Teens on 06/18/2015

    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 Engage:Teens on 05/21/2015

    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 Engage:Teens on 04/16/2015

    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 Engage:Teens on 03/19/2015

    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 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.

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