Today’s financial services companies need to stop selling and start engaging on customers’ terms. Presenting yourself as “a 360 planner” without disclosing your interests in the products you are selling will not cut it anymore.

Hence, we have been working to drive our clients to authenticity — meaning real, genuine, of verifiable origin. Traits that are simply at odds with the perception of the role of marketing.

Can financial services firms make an authentic consumer connection?

Don’t say you are authentic — be authentic. “Straight-talking” and “plugged-in” are both better word choices to personify your brand. Your communication, the way you present your product and your client’s experience should be sufficiently simple to drive differentiation in a way that will foster a real client connection, which will drive business growth through referrals.

Embrace content marketing as a core communications strategy: The value in having real people advocate for brands by inspiring, informing and entertaining audiences across social, content and video is real. Serving up the content your audience wants on their terms and in their language from people they trust works well.

Finally, knowing and communicating your organization’s values gives you a solid base to build your business around. It will give your customers something to rally behind, not just a product to buy.