Michael La Kier

Principal, What Brands Want, LLC
Michael La Kier has a proven track record in building consumer-loved and shopper-relevant brands by unearthing insights to break new ground, enter new markets and create richer, more profitable relationships.

Michael founded What Brands Want, LLC in 2013 as an advisory service to help companies better position and effectively present their offering to brands and consumers. With deep of experience working with some of the world’s best brands – including Coca-Cola, The Food Channel, USA Today and Save the Children – Michael brings a wealth of marketing experience to help a diverse client based ranging from digital and traditional brands to marketing tech startups.

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  • Posted on: 09/11/2017

    Dr Pepper targets a digital promo to Walmart’s customers

    "Gamificiation" is a new term to describe a long-term strategy in the beverage (and other) industries: consumer promotions. Combining mobile/digital tools with consumer insights and behavioral economics allows more science and technology into the mix. While this is not for all brands or for all consumers, it is certainly a viable option to engage and understand the benefit of an initiative.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2017

    Should retailers rent fans to create buzz for their businesses?

    While this is similar to paying influencers to endorse a product, the real issue is that overly incentivizing people to participate in any activity is not a sustainable model. What retail business can really afford to pay customers (at least) $5 to show up on an ongoing basis? Retail must find quality customers to survive.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2017

    Do grocers need to reset the center store?

    What will prevent grocery stores from rethinking their store layouts? Legacy thinking and lack of availability of capital investment. Unfortunately, these two hurdles are hard to overcome in many cases and can lead to further decline.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2017

    Are new, exclusive toys key to Walmart’s Christmas success?

    Exclusive toys can be a key to holiday season success for Walmart. The trick is, did the brand make the right decisions and create a compelling assortment of exclusive offerings? If their forecasting is off, exclusive items that are not motivating to kids and shoppers will not help.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2017

    Will burger and fitness partnerships reinforce Hy-Vee’s mission?

    In-store retail will benefit from experiential activities and making shopping more entertaining. While these two specific partnerships may or may not work, attracting interest and attention is in all retailers' best interest.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2017

    Is there a ‘right way’ for retailers to help in times of disaster?

    There is certainly a WRONG way to respond...
  • Posted on: 08/25/2017

    What are some common missteps when launching loyalty programs?

    Loyalty programs are often polarizing -- both to shoppers and inside organizations. The critical first step to any loyalty program is to ensure program alignment. For shoppers this means being absolutely clear on your program's value proposition (including "what's in it for me" and "how to participate"). Internally, it is making certain everyone is on board and what the metrics and expectations really are. Without alignment loyalty programs will fail.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2017

    Do retailers need to buy the loyalty of consumers?

    The survey lumps price and value together, but they are not the same. Price is self explanatory. Value on the other hand is very subjective. Amazon does not always have the lowest price, but a "good price" (where you can compare multiple vendor prices) combined with ease of shopping and delivery create good value. Value can be convenience not just price. But in an era of almost transparent pricing, if a shopper wants the lowest price they can surely find it.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2017

    Is Walmart on an unstoppable run?

    We're seeing something that could be unique in the history of retail unfolding before our eyes. The 1,000-pound gorilla that acts like its hair is on fire, not resting on its past successes. Walmart is not giving lip service to change (like most large companies in retail and CPG) they are living it. It is fascinating to watch.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2017

    Did retailers shine or go dark on the rare solar eclipse sales opportunity?

    Retailers went dark. From poor inventory forecasting to purchasing glasses from sub-optimal suppliers and forced recalls, we can accurately call this -- for the most part and for retail as a whole -- a poor showing.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2017

    Are the four Ps of marketing irrelevant for retailers?

    The four Ps fall short when marketers think about them in their terms rather than in terms of the shopper. It's really a question of perspective and getting out of your own way to understand what people want. Instead of dismissing e-commerce as a threat to their businesses, companies should ask "why do people want this?" and then, "how can we satisfy those needs?" Businesses are only as successful as their customers allow. Focusing on the four Ps or four Es from the wrong perspective will get you in trouble every time.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2017

    Will grocery stores become the new mall anchors?

    The question of "if grocery trips are conducive with typical mall shopping" posed is perhaps better stated "can grocery stores positively impact the trajectory of declining mall shopping?" For these two to be symbiotic, convenience and value must be created for the shopper. The potential to take malls and create "living communities" where grocery, co-working or office space and new residential options come together could be transformative. But if it is just a grocery store becoming a new anchor tenant, it's not so interesting.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2017

    How disruptive is Alexa to CPG brands?

    A long time objective of CPG at retail has been to "get on the list" to "get in the basket." Making list making more efficient -- or even automating the majority of the list -- is certainly a threat as much of marketing is focused on connecting into the shopper decision making process. This will certainly be something worth watching closely.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2017

    Is ‘free’ a big enough incentive to get consumers to try click and collect?

    Walmart should focus on making experience of pickup in-store better before rolling out this type of incentive. Most stores still only offer pickup at the VERY BACK of the store. If BOPIS is about convenience, trudging through the store is not a good way to deliver this.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2017

    Can robots keep shelves stocked at Schnucks?

    Estimates for CPG are that sales could increase 5-10% just from maintaining full stock at retail. This is a big opportunity! But the robot solution may or may not be the best way. Why not drones that don't clog the aisles?

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