Picture of Camilo Alvarez Written by Camilo Alvarez
on May 29, 2024

We are just back from Las Vegas, where we sponsored the Financial Brand Forum at the Aria Hotel. This event is one of the most important for banks and credit unions and brings together some 1200 attendees from marketing, as well as IT, Ops, and Sales professionals. AI was the hot topic, as expected. The forum featured three days filled with impactful keynotes and practical sessions, offering solid ideas and actionable strategies to drive growth.

Day 1: Pre-Conference Masterclasses

The first day was dedicated to pre-conference masterclasses. Unlike regular sessions, which are more like overviews, these six in-depth classes each lasted three hours, allowing for a deep dive and complete immersion in a topic. Highlights included:

  • Nancy Harhut taught a packed room how to incorporate behavioral science to make campaigns more effective.
  • James Robert Lay shared his framework for digital growth and insights from his newest book.
  • Ron Shevlin provided a comprehensive overview of all the critical elements of AI in banking.

Later, the Marketplace Exhibit Hall opened, featuring hundreds of vendors and partners, offering numerous opportunities to network and catch up. At Prisma's booth, we met with existing customers and partners and talked with many banks and credit unions interested in learning how we are helping other FIs grow with marketing automation.

We also featured an artist who delighted attendees with their caricatures (best swag - original, no carbon footprint, and no space in your luggage).

Prisma's Caricaturist at The Financial Brand Forum 2024

The grand opening featured a live, in-person private stand-up performance by Jim Gaffigan, who even incorporated jokes about AI for the AI-hungry audience.

Day 2: Insightful Sessions and Keynotes

Day two began with power breakfast sessions. We particularly enjoyed Apiture's presentation, "Gen Z Money Matters: Deciphering Generational Trends in Banking," which drew a full room of over 100 attendees. Cindy Crawford's Q&A was engaging, even for millennials unfamiliar with her! She shared candid insights on decision-making, leadership, and taking risks.

Other notable sessions included:

  • AI for Growth: Unleashing Data to Personalize, Predict, and Profit: Presented case studies of Financial Institutions already incorporating AI into their growth strategies.
  • Harnessing the Potential of Generative AI in Banking: Focused on the practical uses of generative AI, primarily for customer service.

Futurist Mike Walsh delivered a TEDx-style talk on AI that left all of us thinking. He affirmed that chatbots are so 2023 and that one year will be like 100 in terms of change. He says a futurist looks at people rather than just looking at technology. His advice included:

  • Automate and Elevate: Do work the smarter way with AI.
  • Don't Work, Design the Work: Hire the smartest and laziest people, particularly Gen Z, who understand the power of technology.
  • Embrace Uncertainty: Be curious rather than judgmental, like Ted Lasso!

In the afternoon, we explored new tricks for using ChatGPT for content creation, learned about a new CD marketplace solution, and enjoyed a keynote from Jason Dorsey, the generational expert.

Day 3: Leadership Insights and Strategic Breakouts

The final day featured keynotes from the former PayPal CEO and former Nintendo President, who shared insights into strategic leadership and guiding organizations through major transitions. Breakout sessions covered topics such as what people really want from financial brands on social media and human-centered connections in the digital era.

Our favorite session was Human-Centered Connections: Customer Engagement in the Digital Era, delivered by Becky Smith, CRO of SECU. We appreciate sessions led by Financial Institutions themselves for their practical insights.

The day concluded with Scott Stratten, the funniest and most memorable storyteller. His engaging talk left us on a high note, perfectly wrapping up an insightful and transformative forum. Just before the day was over, we had time to sit with Mike Lawson from CU Broadcast for an impromptu interview.

Final Thoughts

The Financial Brand Forum 2024 was an event packed with valuable insights, innovative ideas, and meaningful connections. AI is revolutionizing the banking sector, and its impact cannot be overstated. From pre-conference masterclasses to keynote sessions by industry leaders, attendees gained actionable strategies to drive growth and stay ahead in the rapidly changing financial landscape. Events like this are essential to understand, demystify, and take advantage of the advancements in AI and other technologies. And if Mike Walsh is right, and a year will be like 100 in terms of change, you don't want to miss next year's event!

The Financial Brand Forum - Humanizing Digital Experiences

Mark your calendars for April 14-16, 2025, at Aria Las Vegas – see you there!


Image credit: Prisma Campaigns and Camilo Alvarez.