Found People Thursdays – Guest Blog – Mickael Kanfi – Twist Image Founder – Creative Force – Marketer Extraordinaire
Thursday, June 27, 2013

KanfiEvery great rock’n roll band has a front man, the vocalist, the person who does the talking and who brings life to the band’s message, brand and iconic status. Often the creative forces that started the band stay to the sidelines quietly fueling the group’s creativity, they may hold a quieter voice, but their contributions are essential to the band’s longevity and survival.

This dynamic reminds us of Mitch Joel, his powerful persona, distinctive style and his partnership with Mickael Kanfi, founder and Chief Product Officer of Twist Image. The story behind Twist Image isn’t that well known.  When Mickael Kanfi, Mitch Joel and their two other business partners Mark Goodman and Aubrey Rosenhek came together they shared a common love of music, the arts and for pushing the boundaries of creativity. Mickael founded Twist Image leveraging his deep background in special effects, post production and 3D animation to form his direction and unique service offering.  With Mitch starting off as a new client they quickly realized their evolving synergies and ultimately came together to relaunch Twist Image as a marketing firm. The rest is history and we’re thrilled to have Mickael blog with us today to talk about Twist’s evolution, his varied creative outlets and how Mitch’s book CTRL Alt Delete has impacted their approach to business.

Entrepreneur, designer, animator, creative director, musician… Mickael is a man of many talents. But it is his complementary passions for the creative arts and technology that have proven to be the driving force behind his career.
With an education in 3D animation, multimedia design, art and film, Mickael began his career as a compositor/3D animator for a broadcast production company. Motivated by his talent for client relations and interaction design, Mickael tapped into his entrepreneurial spirit and founded Twist Image in April 2000.Since then, Mickael has become an expert in interactive usability. He excels at developing marketing programs that combine innovation and communications, a skill that is proving indispensable in today’s marketing environment.

Q’s and A’s

FP – Tell us about Twist Images culture and how you and Mitch collaborate with your other 2 partners?
MK – As a privately-owned company, our culture is very family-like, open and entrepreneurial.  Sure, as an agency, we have all of the fun types of activities one would expect. Being owner –operated grounds us and forces us to have a good balance of work and play.  You can see that in our work.  It’s not all about cute headlines and advertising, we need to back that with smart strategies, technically sound foundations and results-focused marketing.  Our two other partners add that business sense to the equation.  Mark Goodman, a seasoned agency leader and marketer, comes from the world of direct marketing and data.  In the digital realm, that has helped us expand into eCRM and Analytics with ease.  Our other partner, Aubrey Rosenhek, studied design art and is an avid art lover, even though his role is focused on finance and operations, he understand the creative process and the need to balance looking at numbers with the realities of the agency world.

FP – You’re an artist whose always creating, creativity takes a certain loss of control and surrender to impulse. What was the impulse to action that created Twist Image?
MK– It’s funny that you say impulse, because that’s exactly what it was.  Deep down inside, I always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. If I think back to when I was a kid, starting a DJ “company” when I was 13, or creating clip art graphics “for sale” when I got my first Mac – it’s evident that I always had a business brain.  My decision to open up Twist Image was very much impulsive and one of those situations where you just go for it, and have nothing to lose.  One thing I truly believe in is seizing the moment. The success of twist Image has been greatly due to that.  From the day I decided to start it up, and over time when I started to work with  my 3 business partners, it’s become clear that building a business is not only about hard work, it is mostly about taking risks.

FP – Looking at your personal work on Knafo.ca it’s clear that you’re a multidimensional thinker, how do the elements of this translate into the successes of Twist Image?
MK – In the early days of Twist Image, my multidimensional abilities really paid off and were one of the important factors of our success.  Being able to direct a team creatively, technically, and through my varied experiences was not only instrumental to being successful at digital, but extremely cost-effective.  Today, we have larger teams and have built an eclectic team of leaders for each of our disciplines. Through this growth and diversification my role has evolved, but I continue to leverage my multidisciplinary skill-sets which unite our teams around common visions, facilitate collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas.

FP – How do you and Mitch complement each other?
MK – Mitch and I complement each other extremely well.  Thanks to his role, he has the benefit of being “out there” in the marketing world, getting exposed to so many brands, business challenges, new technologies and what’s hot.  On the other hand, my heavy internal focus is about our clients, the digital space today and implementing solutions that respond to real tangible business needs.  You could say that we each do what we love and what we are good at.  The real magic happens somewhere in the middle, where Mitch and I meet each other half way; we exchange ideas, thoughts and often debate them.  It’s a real balancing act of being aware of where things might be going and knowing which ones to cherry pick and implement in current or upcoming client mandates.

FP – How has Ctrl Alt Delete’s message of rebooting to “NOW” affect your clients and how you do business?
MK – Our clients technically benefited from this thinking and approach before the book was published.  A lot of the thinking from Ctrl Alt Delete had  been discussed and was being  implemented in our day-to-day projects while it was being written and edited.  With a front man like Mitch, the brands we attract at Twist Image are those that are looking for big changes in the way they approach digital marketing, we have the luxury of being able to apply this thinking each and every day.

FP – Continually living in the NOW takes a certain connection to the pulses that drive how we engage, lead and socialize. What do you do day-to-day to stay current and not fall behind?
MK – Firstly, I read Mitch’s blog everyday!  Secondly, I follow many great news sources, blogs, etc.  Most importantly, I practice every day by staying involved in the work we do, by rolling up my sleeves and playing around with the platforms and tools myself.

To know more about Twist Image, visit: twistimage.com or their blog and podcast at sixpixelsofseparation.ca

To check out Mickael’s work and personal creative pursuits click here:

Musician/artist website: http://www.knafo.ca 

Latest music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3YcMz5-684

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/knafo

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