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
- 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.
- Think Globally, Act Socially in
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
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
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
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.