Ubiquitous internet connectivity and information overload have changed the landscape of brand and customer communications forever. For stats fans, that translates to 10 billion connected devices and 90% of the world’s data  created in the past 2 years.
First of all, the evolution of social technologies and the impact on consumer behavior has led to different expectations. After Google announced the Hummingbird update (a month after it was implemented) there’s been a flurry of Hummingbird optimization advice. Understanding the context for why your buyers need certain topics or categories of information and the questions they’re asking is core to content marketing strategy. Content mapped to stages of the buying cycle and useful information that engages along the way from awareness to purchase to advocacy sounds like the kind of optimization Google (and your customers) can get on board with.
The most fundamental integrated online marketing advice I could give for 2014:  Focus on being the best answer for whatever it is that your customers care about most when they need your product or service. Some brands are taking it a step further and coordinating the kind of multichannel marketing efforts that create congruent and complementary customer experiences across different platforms. The challenge for brands to become the best answer and a great experience, is to understand the relationship between the consumer and information that helps them achieve their goals and satisfy their interests. By understanding, planning and optimizing for the customer experience, brands can better engage with information in a meaningful way that supports both customer and business objectives.
Engage – What stories and information experience will we offer that matters most to customers? Hold yourself accountable to developing content experiences that support being the best answer for what your brand stands for and what customers care about.
Now the question is, how will your online marketing efforts be integrated and optimized for 2014? While Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s move to ban the sale of sodas over 16oz in New York City may have been shot down by a Supreme Court Judge on Monday, the politician’s plan has caught the media’s attention when it comes to soda companies’ role in America’s obesity problem. Industry giant Coca Cola, along with other companies such as its rival, Pepsi Cola, offer thousands of scholarships aimed at minority students.
So — how does an industry whose products directly contribute to unhealthy eating habits combat the very same problem it exacerbates?
So far, Coca-Cola’s efforts to manage the recent incoming criticism have been extraordinarily effective, if perhaps a little transparent. As the pressure continues to build and soda companies face ever-increasing criticism heading their way, maybe it’s time more of them considered changing their practices and telling a story that assumes more social responsibility in order to benefit them (and their consumers) in the long run. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how much money Uber drivers make and whether being an Uber driver is, as the company says, an ideal part-time job. The paper’s biggest claim is simple, and headline-grabbing: Uber drivers make more money than regular taxi drivers. On close reading, however, none of the data provided by the authors of the paper -- Uber Head of Research Jonathan Hall and Princeton economist Alan Krueger, working “under contract” with Uber -- support such claims. In its marketing materials, Uber repeatedly presents gross pay data with language saying it shows how much drivers “take home (after deductions),” and then leaves it to a footnote to explain that those deductions do not include any of the most obvious costs of driving a car for money.
The problem is that these are all gross pay numbers, but the two sets of drivers pay out costs in different ways.

Simply comparing the gross pay of each set of drivers doesn’t tell you which set takes home more pay: You also need to know the costs of each set of drivers. Uber declined to respond to questions about why it did not include operating costs and fees in its examination of wages for the report.
In the bottom row, you’ll see that average hourly earnings stay roughly the same -- about $21 -- no matter how many hours you work.
This is a chart of increasing predictability: The more hours you work, the more accurately you can estimate your gross pay. Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect that the study found the standard deviation in Uber's six largest markets was 13 percent. Consumers expect to find answers to their questions on search engines and social networks alike.
Add in topically themed, third party signals of credibility from industry publications that cover your brand editorially as well as robust social network activity and I think we’re on to something. Be credible and be easy to find, buy and share across all channels that matter to your customers. That’s not to say multi-channel is new, but there are a lot more channels to deal with now and more companies are trying to be present on more of them. It’s important that brands understand this relationship in terms of how consumers discover, consume and act on information as they experience the brand engagement lifecycle from awareness to purchase to advocacy.
Is your brand meeting customer expectations in terms of useful, engaging content experiences?
Optimization for the customer journey means content planning, creation, socialization, promotion and measurement are accountable to three key elements: attract, engage and convert. Understand how your distinct customer segments discover, consume and act on information so you can plan an optimized and socialized content marketing strategy that attracts, engages and converts across the entire customer journey.
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The dialogue regarding overweight Americans is a threat that hovers over soda manufacturers like a Mento over a bottle of Diet Coke, and how they deal with that threat requires some agile and well-timed PR messaging. These initiatives are brilliant marketing moves for such corporations; through the establishment of these programs, Coke is able to earn the support (not to mention the patronage) of minority communities, gaining considerable brand loyalty. This places the corporations in a difficult position, especially with the country’s growing fixation on remedying its considerable weight problem. This success may change, however, as more and more attention is turned towards the role food companies play in America’s continuous battle with the scale. As of now, the great obesity problem is a major PR crisis waiting to happen, and Coke is making all the right moves to stay afloat. Uber released a research paper on Thursday that claimed to give clear answers to those questions. This, along with flexible hours, makes being an Uber driver a good part-time job, in the paper’s judgment. Taxi drivers tend to pay leasing companies to use cabs maintained by medallion companies, and also pay for gas, while Uber drivers are responsible directly for paying and maintaining everything they need to keep their car on the road.

The paper answers that question emphatically: It finds that average hourly earnings don’t change much based on how many hours per week drivers work. A different set of Uber data -- for drivers in New York -- shows that the fewer hours you work, the farther away from the average you are likely to fall.
Krueger told The Huffington Post that the study does examine how drivers' hourly wages vary from month to month, and concluded they were "fairly steady across months” in Uber’s six largest markets, with a 13 percent standard deviation.
They also expect to interact with what they find – commenting, sharing, rating and contributing. That said, there’s some good news for content based marketers that leverage social networks, media relations and customer experience optimization tactics. They’re creating these experiences with content across channels and enabling the discovery of that rich content with optimized, socialized and paid media. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.
Their methods of attracting these customers, however, have garnered negative publicity from parties who claim that soda ultimately puts consumers at a far greater risk of obesity, especially in minority communities. Many times the easiest and least detrimental choice is to avoid entering the dialogue until it becomes a necessity; for Coca-Cola and other companies, that time has arrived amidst a flurry of articles, news pieces, and legal action. They’re backed up by the inarguable fact that physical activity is imperative when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing obesity, and by focusing on this the company is skillfully circumventing the part of the problem that poor nutrition plays while still addressing the issue. Crusaders against obesity such as Mayor Bloomberg aren’t willing to let sleeping dogs lie, as evidenced by his plan to appeal the ruling in June.
But that’s just gross pay: It does not take into account costs like gas, insurance, or car maintenance and ownership.
That would indeed make driving for Uber a good part-time job: It’s nice to be able to predict how much you’re going to make per hour and not be penalized for working fewer hours.
However, the standard deviation across all markets in the study is 19 percent -- that means that assuming a normal distribution, 68 percent of drivers saw earnings swing somewhere between positive and negative 19 percent month to month. The recent attention focused on the soda ban has exposed a self-serving image of Coca-Cola and similar soda manufacturers. In response to this, Coca-Cola has decided to not only publicly acknowledge obesity, but also even taken a stand against it, as seen in their official statement. This is a well-played move: By laying the blame on a lack of exercise rather than excessive intake of sugar and empty calories, Coke is able to create a legitimate diversion from their own products’ health risks in order to create an image of being a socially responsible company while simultaneously avoiding jeopardizing their own brand and profit.
How Coca-Cola and competitors cope with the increasing social burdens publicly is a high-stakes decision that could cost them their reputation and profit. Uber hasn’t provided pay data that nets out those costs, which are necessary for any driver.
By generating good press, the company has managed to tactfully alleviate the bad publicity that had recently been piled high on their shoulders.

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