Think of this page as a virtual creative jam session. I don’t just want to show you some of my work from the past couple years; I want to help you understand how my brain works and how I think through problems.
From 2022 to 2023, I was one of the principal creatives at AirDNA, the world leader in short-term rental data solutions.
AirDNA was founded in 2015 and experienced lightning success with its accurate, easy-to-use tools designed to help Airbnb hosts and investors make smart decisions. But like so many tech start-ups, AirDNA had a strong product but a relatively weak brand.
As a result, this led to lots of transactional relationships with clients. Ads, emails, web pages, and even certain product screens—they didn’t convey credibility. They didn’t foster a sense of community and belonging. They weren’t intentional and truly customer-centric.
One of my first initiatives at AirDNA was to write and design an all-new brand voice guide. There was a lack of purpose and coherency behind the writing coming out of AirDNA. We needed a North Star.
So I met with dozens of stakeholders in the company. Executives. Junior employees. My own team. People from other teams. I studied AirDNA’s competitors. I examined case studies and customer surveys. I sponged up every bit of information and inspiration I could, and this 30-plus page document was the end result of that process. It’s still in use, company-wide, at AirDNA today.
a refined brand voice
I also developed a persona-based content strategy for AirDNA’s B2C marketing efforts. This meant marrying messaging themes and channel mixes to specific types of customers, based on past successes and shortcomings. The goal was to ensure, whether we were producing paid creative or organic content, that we were delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time and in the right context. Strategy over spontaneity.
Why? Because language matters. Because one wrong verb or adjective or tone-deaf turn of phrase could sink your brand ship.
modernized brand assets
AirDNA was in need of ad campaigns that were clean, cohesive, and built around proven messaging themes. (Less about the company. Less about complex product features. More about customers and their pain points and how we can help—right now.)
It was also important that any new assets were 100% aligned with an upcoming UX overhaul to AirDNA’s core product—fonts, buttons, illustrations, hex codes, etc.
To coincide with this product update, I designed four sets of 10 ads for social and display, ranging in size from 1920 x 1080 to 320 x 50.
Naturally, this product overhaul was promoted on AirDNA’s marketing website. This called for a strong hero asset as well.
One of the most significant parts of the update was the interactive map (making it much more responsive and attractive than the previous interface). So my aim was to faithfully showcase the new map without any abstraction. I also included our color palette and a riff on our logo.
* illustrations by Steven Bernstein
There was also a need to practically showcase the updated product across AirDNA’s website and social media channels, so I created several stark and highly legible mobile screens.
Traditionally, AirDNA’s product was always showcased on laptops. Given that a majority of customers would be experiencing AirDNA’s new product (and ads and website, for that matter) on mobile devices, this treatment felt appropriate and contemporary.
It was important to be proactive and educate our customers about the new product changes. I also wanted to use this webinar ad design to further showcase the new brand elements.
AirDNA’s Research team publishes popular monthly market reviews whose hero images needed updating, too. Again, my mission was to create unbusy yet uniquely recognizable heroes that aligned with brand collateral across every channel.
Prior to the product relaunch, I served as creative director for multiple teaser videos, too. These were intended to create excitement across social media without actually revealing any new product elements.
* additional video production by Anton Reyes Jr.
cohesion across all touch points
In tandem with AirDNA’s 2023 product update, its marketing website underwent a reskin, too. This presented an opportunity for me to rework every line of copy on the site—especially the homepage—to ensure we were hitting all the right notes with our core customers.
I also had the privilege of serving as the primary UX writer/editor for the updated product. Even though the AirDNA app itself feels sparse on copy—by design—it still contains thousands and thousands of words. And each one was carefully considered and intended to be more economic and less vivacious than the language found on the marketing site. (My mantra while editing app copy: More Hemingway, less Joyce.)
The tooltips are perhaps my favorite aspect of this project. They seem like a small touch, sure, but they’re one of the main reasons the revised app feels less like a library and more like a trusted advisor—always by your side and ready to answer any short-term rental question.
the anatomy of successful messaging
In my experience, the most effective brand messaging is rarely cute or clever. You wouldn't print it, frame it, and hang it in MoMA. That's because the goal, as a copywriter, isn't to show your colleagues how brilliant you are; it's to genuinely connect with your target audience. That means language must be customer-centric and outcome-oriented. Active, not passive. Simple, not simplistic. Stay out of your own way, and cut to the chase.
With as few characters as possible, I always strive to convey easy-to-understand value props that entice and build trust.
Below is some of my copy that, throughout 2022 and 2023, anchored many of AirDNA's highest-converting landing pages or tallied the best click-through-rates across paid channels (5% to 10%).
• Explore any market on earth. For free.
• Your trusted advisor for every STR decision.
• Smart investments happen here.
• Set the best rate every night.
• Goodbye to guesswork.
• The ultimate Airbnb cheat code.
• Price your vacation rental to perfection.
• Top businesses need transformative insights.
• Your short-term rental. Our data. More revenue.
• One app for every step of your short-term rental journey.
closing thoughts on the “B” word
What exactly is a brand?
Marty Neumeier says, “A brand is a result. It’s a customer’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. … A brand is like a reputation.” And that’s a really insightful answer. But if customers decide brands, what do we do—the people within the company that owns the brand?
Well, we do sales, marketing, and customer success. Basically: anything that can positively influence that result or reputation. And that calls for consistency at every customer touch point—from an advertisement to a web page to a product screen. Otherwise, we’ll confuse customers and probably lose their business.
Companies sell widgets; brands sell experiences. Companies are made up of people and processes; brands stimulate our senses. You can work for a company; a brand works for you.