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SAN FRANCISCO – In what may be a conference first, Atlanta-based design/build firm IBT has hosted its 13th annual Retail Banking Trends Conference without tapping any financial services guest speakers. With the conference theme of “Lets Get Creative”, the conference instead featured interactive “creativity” sessions and retail and motivational speakers. For example, to promote innovative and imaginative solutions to daily procedures, IBT divided conference attendees into teams to scour San Francisco for retailers with creative approaches to customer service, merchandising and employee relations. Each team was given a topic to research out on the streets of San Francisco and instructed to look for unique styles and practices. Once the search was completed, each team presented their findings to the group, explaining how the approaches could be applied within a retail financial institution. In addition, Doug Lipp, president of Doug Lipp & Associates and former head trainer for Walt Disney University, stressed the importance of strategically training front-line employees to provide exceptional customer service. He suggested great customer service stems from great leadership, which is reflected in the front-line employees attitudes and behaviors. Managers were encouraged to tap into their creativity while coaching employees to maximize employees’ performance, uncover hidden potential and drive results throughout the branch. Rob Broadfoot and Matt Blackburn of BlackburnBroadfoot Inc., a creative services company, focused on the steps in the creative process to market and merchandise the branch. The attendees put into practice what they learned by creating an ad campaign for a famous brand of hot sauce. “The success of this conference exceeded all of our expectations. This was a very interactive conference, and it was very rewarding to see such enthusiastic participation from our clients,” said IBT President Patricia Clemens.

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