A packed house. The massive Chelsea auditorium at The Financial Brand Forum 2018 had seating for nearly 2,000 people spread across three levels. On the main stage, there was a 100-foot video wall, with two 16×9 screens above. A giant cube with the MX logo, title sponsor of the Forum 2018, floated above the stage.
Backstage. Backstage at the Forum 2018 was a 12-person A/V crew manning so many video screens it looked like NASA’s Cape Canaveral launch center. The whole property suffered a brown out on Wednesday, but this crack team had everything back up and running in about 15 minutes.
Opening keynote. After Guy Kawasaki, the former Chief Evangelist at Apple, wrapped up his opening keynote, Jeffry Pilcher, the CEO/President and Founder of The Financial Brand couldn’t resist the opportunity to snap a selfie on stage with such a legend. (For those who attended, please note: the camera used was an iPhone X, not an Android!)
A throng of attendees. Among those in attendance were 38 named Dave, 32 named Mike, 23 Matt’s, and a dozen Jennifer’s. Seen here are one of the three people named Kris, one of the 11 Bob’s, and one of the eight Emily’s.
Catherine Courage. Catherine Courage, VP of Ads and UX at Google, is an expert on innovation and design. She heads up a product line with over $60 billion in global annual revenues. At the Forum 2018, this former TEDx speaker told attendees how the power of UX, and how a culture of creativity can take your digital experience to the next level.
Jason Dorsey. Known around the world as the foremost authority on Millennials and Gen Z, Jason Dorsey is one of the best speakers you’ll ever see on stage. He’s smart, entertaining, educational and funny. He’s also full of more energy than most people have after eight cups of coffee — like human Red Bull incarnate. This was Dorsey’s second time speaking at The Financial Brand Forum.
Jim Marous. As one of five Forum X speakers, co-publisher of The Financial Brand and owner of The Digital Banking Report, Jim Marous gave a tremendous multi-media presentation on the future of banking. His speech even included a cameo from a humanoid robot named “Pepper.”
Randi Zuckerberg. Jeffry Pilcher, CEO/President and Founder of The Financial Brand, had to fire off another selfie with the incredibly talented, super smart and always effervescent Randi Zuckerberg, the final keynote speaker at the Forum 2018, who closed the conference out with a song!
Guy Kawasaki book signing. Some attendees were lucky enough to get a signed copy of Guy Kawasaki’s book, Enchantment. A few were also fortunate enough to snap a selfie while snagging their hardbound edition inside the inLighten exhibit booth.
Concurrent breakout sessions. At most conferences, the concurrent breakout sessions are small, with only a handful of attendees participating. Not at The Financial Brand Forum, where some breakouts attracted as many as 400+ attendees. That’s more than the keynotes and general sessions at most financial industry conferences! Here you can see Kevin Blair, CEO of NewGround, giving a presentation on retail branch transformation and experience design.
Demo theater. The Forum 2018 debuted a demo stage this year, where sponsors could showcase their products and solutions — something that 17 different companies did.
James Robert Lay. A special hat tip goes out to James Robert Lay and his brother Jonathan Lay, both with the Digital Growth Institute. Both of them have been involved in The Financial Brand Forum since the first conference, and they have produced the opening video used to kick things off every year for the last five years straight.
Very Cosmopolitan. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is one of the swankiest hotels in the world. The property has all kinds of signature funk and style, including this giant oversized shoe that is a photo hot spot.
What a view! Attendees had a killer view from the private terrace outside their room at the Cosmopolitan. The Bellagio fountain gave them a free show every 15 minutes while they stood outside and enjoyed the warm Las Vegas breeze.
Zappos tours. Every year, a handful of lucky attendees get to take the Zappos Culture Tour. The famous online shoe company is headquartered in downtown Las Vegas, where Forum attendees flock by the busload to learn about the secrets of building a strong internal brand.
Peer-to-Peer Luncheons. Several hundred attendees participated in roundtable luncheons where they could sit down and discuss common issues/challenges while enjoying a plated meal — completely unscripted, with no agenda.
Power Breakfast sessions. What a great way to start the day — a sit-down breakfast where you can learn… and laugh.
Yury Nabokov. This is one of the most intelligent, motivated and out-going people you could ever hope to meet. Yury’s official title is Innovation and Digital Strategy Manager at Machias Savings Bank, but he’s also The Financial Brand’s adopted son.
Unicorns. Every year at The Financial Brand Forum, at least one of the sponsors brings a furry mascot. Or two. This year, a pair of unicorns provided attendees with an unusual photo opp, as you can see here with The Financial Brand’s very own Jim Marous.
Pepper. Here’s the robot named “Pepper” used as bait at the booth for the Digital Banking Report. Flanking Pepper is Jim Perry from Market Insights (left), and Jim Marous from The Financial Brand (right).
Exhibit hall. There were 47 companies exhibiting in the Forum 2018 exhibit hall, most with 20×10 booths (or larger). This meant that there were roughly 25 bank and credit union attendees for every one exhibitor — a ratio unheard of at any other financial industry conference.
MX – Title sponsor of the Forum 2018. This two-story 20×30 island exhibit booth was a first for The Financial Brand Forum. It literally took exhibits to the next level, with two conference rooms for private meetings upstairs — both impressive and gorgeous!
360 View. 360 View, a CRM system for banks and credit unions, brought their A-game to the Forum 2018 with a giant 20×20 island exhibit, making great use of their corporate color.
Alkami. Alkami’s 20×20 island booth incorporated black and gold into vertical layers that rose up into the ballroom’s 35-foot ceiling.
Kasasa. While some of the Kasasa team were staffing their booth at the Forum 2018, others from the company were at Finovate, where Kasasa’s new lending tool won the much-coveted “Best of Show” award. Congratulations to CMO Keith Brannan (left) and the rest of the Kasasa crew!
Intuvo. The exhibitors at the Forum 2018 really stepped up their game. Every booth in the exhibit hall looked spectacular.
MARQUIS. Kirsten Quam, Chief Marketing Officer/AVP at FVSBank (far left) seen here with MARQUIS SVP/Marketing Client Relationships Mike Bartoo (center) and MARQUIS Chief Revenue Officer John Kassing (right). MARQUIS was the title sponsor of the Forum 2016.
Classical music. Kane Graphical brought Miriam-Rose LeDuc, a classical violinist and her Strativarius, to the Forum 2018 to entertain attendees during breaks — very talented, and a classy touch.