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: 11/11/2017

    Are these the best or worst of times for consumer brands?

    Leaning toward the "worst of times" overall. For many of the long established CPG companies, their legacy brands are under attack and facing little if any growth. As large scale enterprises, growth is hard to come by when launching new, smaller niche products (which may be great businesses on their own).
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Has Google solved the problem of long lines at grocery checkouts?

    The big takeaway here is just that -- a takeaway of power via better information from the retailer to the shopper. Long gone are the days when a retailer "owns" the real estate -- the ground and air in which they operate. Not sure of the success from a consumer/shopper standpoint, but it continues the trend towards shopper empowerment fueled by data. For shoppers on a very quick fill-in trip this may add value. For shoppers doing longer more traditional stock-up trips, the lines fluctuate greatly while they shop, so it likely won't matter to them.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Large brands and retailers expand the subscription economy

    The key motivators to launch a subscription business direct are 1) Closer relationship to the consumer/customer and 2) recurring revenue. This is a challenge as all businesses don't have a natural fit with subscription commerce. Also, consumer fatigue can play a dampening role as people opt-out for other choices. One of the early innovators -- Blue Apron -- is actually seeing their customer base shrink (6% in Q3 and 9% in Q2). Value from brands is important to keep shoppers satisfied.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2017

    Gillette’s odd promo delivers some very weird results

    Maybe this is just an odd way to clean up their database?
  • Posted on: 11/02/2017

    ‘Tis the season to hype those Christmas deals

    Hard to imagine that HUGE discounts will right the ship (or should I say sleigh) at Sears and Kmart. These retailers have lost relevancy with their core shopper and it's unlikely that further deepening their price cuts for the holidays is a long-term recipe for success.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2017

    Walmart plans to party hardy throughout the holidays

    I'm not sure that big parties at Walmart will be a draw for shoppers. It may improve the shopping experience, but given the hustle and bustle of the holidays there seem to be more people these days on targeted trip missions: get in and get out. So the added clutter may backfire.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2017

    Consumers plan to get started early on Christmas shopping

    It is becoming harder and harder for retailers to forecast store traffic and proper inventory levels. The holiday season is such a critical time, but poorly understood by many. Holidays are an opportunity for disruption and those who successfully apply Big Data and artificial intelligence to help can become winners.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Corona owner is getting into the legal pot business

    Regardless of the current administration, more and more cities and states are either legalizing marijuana or decriminalizing. This means money is flowing into the industry and we should expect to see more companies in the consumer industry flocking here given high growth potential (as it is no surprise that growth in many CPG companies has stagnated or is in the low single digits).
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Arby’s has the meat – and it’s gamey

    "Meats out of the Mainstream" was the #1 key trend projected for 2017 by The Food Channel. This trend is driven by people always looking for the next new sensation. The constant nature of limited time promotional offers -- especially at fast food restaurants like Arby's -- has trained Americans to always look for something new to eat. We’ve gotten jaded and believe there will always be something new. One key to the future success of this trend will be the traceability of these new meats. Transparency is another key food trend -- people want to know where and how the animals were raised, the environmental impact all the way through processing and shipping and how easy it will be to get the meat without damaging the budget.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Is inventory or staffing the biggest omnichannel challenge for stores?

    The biggest challenge for any of the omnichannel functions will be staffing. Inventory management can be handled by improving technology, but staffing (hiring, training and keeping good people) is always a significant issue for retail. A rude or inefficient staffer can destroy the relationship between a shopper and a store. Ensuring enough staff is on hand to manage the various models will be important going forward.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Johnson & Johnson takes aim at digital disruption

    One of the points of leverage mentioned that may have gotten lost is the revenue growth management function. Being successful in an omnichannel selling world will depend on offering up the right packages for each channel at the right price. And, being maniacal about tracking and adjusting this based on marketplace feedback.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Will Amazon conquer digital advertising platforms next?

    Another win for Amazon beyond the advertising revenue -- and a win for brands (assuming good ROI) in an increased sales rate of products. With an endless shelf, products can get lost unless there is a way to promote.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    A mall carves out pop-up space for online brands

    MAKE SHOPPING GREAT AGAIN. This is a fun idea. It provides a reason for people to come back to the mall and see something new. And it gives online retailers a taste of what it's like to have a store.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2017

    Can e-tailers use ‘digital body language’ to convert shoppers?

    The more retailers understand shopper behavior, the better. Period. End of Story. If retailers have attracted shoppers to their site and can entice someone to buy who would otherwise leave, it's a huge advantage.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2017

    Can AR trigger TRU’s turnaround?

    Focusing on a better in-store experience is always a worthy endeavor, but it does not always directly correlate into traffic and sales. For Toys "R" Us to be successful, they must run a tighter ship and get better on forecasting (or creating) demand for products.

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