HOLLER AT ME!
Or, you know, electronically introduce yourself like a respectable internet citizen.
DunningLS@gmail.com // @LizaDunning
ABOUT ME: The Career Chapters
Writing has always been my happy place. I've been passionate about creative communication since I had a colored pencil and a padlocked diary, circa age six. Since we're all friends here (or maybe you’re looking for more samples of my previous work) I'll be happy to send you some early journal entries or extremely bad poetry, free of charge.
What were we talking about? Oh, right: My rise to writing stardom.
After attending The University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism (Advertising) I did a brief stint in Los Angeles doing everything from production assisting at Sternberg Productions to running Hollywood industry events with Bolthouse Productions. It was then I had the crucial epiphany that I cared more about being creative and working with words than I ever cared for perfecting Paris Hilton's birthday party.
I went to school to be a ''real'' writer.
At The Creative Circus (tagline: "Where weird kids become employable") I found a calling in copywriting. More than traditional advertising, I found myself enamored with this niche of branding. It was barely a buzzword then, but I loved the idea of building a company's foundation — its brand identity and. narrative from the ground up. It felt so much more meaningful than coming up with the wittiest headline.
I still had no idea what a startup was.
While working my first agency job (22squared) in 2009, I was introduced (via Twitter) to two entrepreneurs who had an idea and a need for a pitch deck. While freelancing for them, I convinced them to change their corporate-sounding name to something that seemed more brandable. I also coerced them into dumping their overpriced logo guy for my all-talented design partner-in-crime. Together, we named, branded, and launched Scoutmob, the location-based deals app with a focus on locally owned businesses. I decided to leave advertising to join the tiny startup that I just named while working in the founder's basement. My parents were sure I'd lost my mind. They were mostly right. I had no idea what I was doing.
I loved every minute of it.
While growing Scoutmob's brand to 13 markets and over three million users, I found my own voice. I also developed branded editorial content around the product before "branded content" was a buzzy catchphrase. I learned what it meant to establish true brand loyalty, even super-fandom. I hired and managed an editorial team of five bad-ass full-time editors and 20+ freelancers across the country. I wrote about and photographed thousands of restaurants, local businesses, and entrepreneurs. I developed the brand identity and narrative for two additional products. And I'll never-ever-ever get over the time one of our super fans tattooed our logo oh-so-permanently on his left calf. After raising a Series B and enjoying five good years as a startup darling....
I wanted to take another crazy risk. I went freelance.
When an opportunity came up to work with the recently rebranded and rapidly growing Airbnb in 2014, I jumped at the chance to join the team. After all, it was my "ultimate brand crush" and dream client. I got to help them hone their voice, with work encompassing everything from brand writing, social content strategy, traditional copywriting, concepting, script writing, short films, creative direction, experiential activations, 48-hour turnarounds on national TV spots, and -- maybe my favorite part -- traveling to far-off destinations to tell the stories of our inspiring host community.
Safe to say, these four-plus years have felt like ten.
On the side, I continue to stoke the fire of my other love: helping early stage and growing consumer brands develop their voice. I've also been lucky enough to speak at conferences and help mentor the bright brand writers and marketing creatives of the future find their voice, too.
If you've made it this far into this epic biography: Bless you, Mom.
If you're not my mom, then, HEY! Let's make this a two-way conversation, shall we? Perhaps over a cup of tea or a good old-fashioned email exchange? (Email can be found at the top of this page.)
Either way, thanks for stopping by! See you out there on the interwebs.