TVE Introduces Irina Ikonsky

I was studying literature in graduate school when I decided to do something more applied. As an analyst at Ipsos, I moved from studying characters to studying people. I was part of a rotational program that allowed me to explore a range of divisions.I ultimately fell in love with early stage creative testing, which explored big ideas and campaigns before they came to life in concrete executions. The best part was working across different categories and getting to see the commonalities between them. What do paper towels have in common with automobiles? More than you would think.

I soon realized I didn’t want to just test the ideas; I wanted to help create them. That’s when I joined a branding and innovation consultancy specializing in healthcare. I worked on new product development, brand strategy, brand architectures, positioning and naming. I like to say I helped brands discover what they wanted to be when they grew up. My favorite project was creating a new sub-line for Coppertone suncare. It transformed the way I saw innovation and banned joint trips to the grocery store with friends. I would get too excited by new products and claims, lingering over each one. It still takes me half an hour to buy milk.

I did miss working across categories, so I dipped my toes into brand engagement. The agency I joined defined brand as not just what happens at 30,000 feet, but what happens at every touchpoint. No moment is too small to differentiate and delight. While this is true in spirit, I missed the 30,000 ft. view in practice.

I was therefore delighted to find TVE. When the team asked what I wanted to do, I answered honestly – I was increasingly encouraged to specialize. They said they loved being generalists. I had a great moment of clarity – it felt like all my previous roles were coming together.

Everyone I spoke to came from a different world (or two) that added a unique perspective to their thinking. Everyone was incredibly curious and smart. And most importantly, everyone was incredibly gracious and kind. Usually the jack of all trades line is wielded against generalists. Instead, I was impressed by the depth, expertise and thoughtfulness applied to every discipline. Finally, I didn’t have to choose just one category or lens. So, I am especially excited about this new adventure – as it combines the magic of all the adventures that came before it.

By: Joyce Esser

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