Tiffani Jones Brown is the Creative Director at Pinterest in San Francisco. Her first role at Pinterest was to define the character and personality of their brand and voice. With her background in philosophical ethics and creative writing, Tiffani has both a creative and methodical way of looking at things. She talks about her role at Pinterest, how she ended up there, and the challenges she faces on a daily basis. Her advice for young professionals and professionals at any stage in their career about practicing your passion, is spot on.
Tell us a little bit more about your role at Pinterest?
I'm the Creative Director for the brand, which means I oversee a team of writers, designers, and filmmakers. I work closely with marketers, researchers and our PR team to define the character and soul of the Pinterest brand, based on our company values and what we care about. Then I make sure that we express that character through everything that we do.
Pinterest is a boundless catalog of ideas, so my job is also to help people understand, through brand campaigns, how they can use it in everyday life (like when you're trying to figure out what's for dinner, how to tie a bowtie, or what your taste in architecture is.)
How did you end up working in writing and content strategy? What was your path like?
Growing up I was always into writing - I did a lot of creative writing. I went to grad school for philosophical ethics and I was going to be a professor. A little ways into my PhD I remembered, "oh wait, I'm going to have to move to the middle of nowhere and oh my god, I'm going to have to live in the middle of nowhere, and I want to move to NYC or whatever." So I ended up bailing on that.
My husband was working as a designer at the time, and I was always helping him with design work, writing and crafting brand voices. Slowly I just got into writing and messaging and coming up with concepts. My husband and I started an agency where I helped to define a voice and content strategy for businesses. With philosophy, it's about what the big idea is and that's a lot of my job now actually, pulling out what the actual concept is, what's the idea? What's the story? So it all kind of fits together but in a cobbled way.
After Facebook acquired our agency, I joined their team as a writer and content strategist, responsible for defining the “brand voice”—and eventually I made my way to Pinterest to do the same thing. At Pinterest, my first job was to define our character and personality, so I spent a lot of time trying to codify the “Pinterest magic.” I thought a lot about how pinners thought about Pinterest (we have this “put pinners first motto”) and worked closely with our community manager to define and incorporate our voice, which used to be “warm, down-to-earth, clear, honest and delightful” but has now evolved to “simple, playful, real and clever.”