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. For more information, visit:
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    New c-store concept is high-tech inside and out

    One thing is for certain: retail is changing at a radical pace and retailers must test and learn to keep up. Will this concept be a success? The only way is to put it out there and see what sticks. Kudos to Choice Market for putting themselves out there!
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Toys ‘R’ Us to rise from the ashes of bankruptcy, but should it?

    There is latent value in the Toys "R" Us brand, but it will come down to assortment and experience. People know they can get whatever toys they want almost wherever they want online. So, what will separate Toys "R" Us? If the answer is "what they did before" then this reboot should be booted!
  • Posted on: 10/01/2018

    Omnichannel retailing lands at the airport

    With the hustle and bustle of most airports, this idea will be logistically complicated. However, since finding a seat at many airports these days is complicated, if people can plop down and have delivery of snacks and other items, it could (pardon the pun) take off.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2018

    Is traffic a flawed measure of engagement?

    Traffic is but one metric for retail. They must also look at purchase incidence, number of transactions and purchase amount. These four core metrics can help a business understand their levers for growth and where they should focus energy. Only focusing on traffic misses the mark.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2018

    Walmart expands test of pickup-only grocery store concept

    There are three basic questions I always use to evaluate opportunities like the Walmart pickup idea. Does it make the shopper better? Does it help the shopper shop faster? Does it help them feel smarter? A dedicated grocery pickup makes the shopping experience faster and better. Ordering quickly and picking up on the way helps shoppers feel smarter. The key to making this work will be if the back-end logistics work for Walmart (and will most likely manifest for the shopper if perishables are done well).
  • Posted on: 09/07/2018

    Will crowdsourced service help Walmart nail the last mile of grocery deliveries?

    Figuring out how to make home delivery work for shoppers and retailers is complicated. Since there is no one-size-fits-all answer, Walmart is very smart to test options. As long as crowdsourced delivery can be done in a seamless manner it is certainly worth testing.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2018

    Can retailers afford to have a higher customer service profile?

    The biggest opportunities to drive customer service efficiencies start with an understanding of what shoppers need. Understanding how and when shoppers seek information, from who, and what they need should drive decisions on customer service and staffing. I've seen multiple studies from fashion, home improvement and even fresh meat show that store associates are not always initially sought for help -- but when a question cannot be solved by other means associates must be available and knowledgeable.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2018

    Will a new beauty concept help CVS pull shoppers from Sephora and Ulta?

    Health and wellness have multiple dimensions -- feeling and looking good is certainly one of them and CVS recognizes that. When any retailer can make shoppers' lives better and more convenient it's a good thing. This move by CVS is a step in that direction.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2018

    Can Kroger turn Cincinnati into an alt-Silicon Valley?

    Cincinnati already has a pretty vibrant tech community (see Vine Street Ventures, The Brandery, Cintrifuse and others). Kroger's move is likely more about ease and convenience of having innovation partners close to home. Innovation labs do help the community and keep talent in place which is likely a motive on Kroger's part too.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2018

    Coca-Cola to take a run at Starbucks

    Make no mistake. This is a big deal and worth watching. The Costa deal will bring great challenges as well as opportunities for Coca-Cola. Opportunities: new growth channels, a new retail footprint and international expansion. Challenges: operating a retail business, customer/channel conflicts (I'm sure McDonald's won't like a supplier becoming a competitor) and heavy competition. A big bet for sure.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2018

    Walmart’s two-day shipping pledge comes with a caveat

    Calling products "out of stock" when they aren't seems a bit disingenuous. A promise is a promise to shoppers, not just when it is convenient. This type of policy -- while totally within retailer's rights based on the stated terms and conditions -- will erode shopper trust when it happens. Shoppers should be given the options upfront rather than on the back end.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2018

    How much do e-tail algorithms need humans?

    As the old Rick Springfield song goes, "we all need a human touch." After all, if we want to be data-driven as an industry, we need to set the destination for data to reach and achieve on our behalf.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2018

    Do CPGs need their own voice for Alexa?

    Brand markers have spoken about brand voice and personality for decades -- now this can be brought to life with Alexa and other voice assistants, but should it? The answer is ... maybe. Voice marketing is in its infancy and there is much testing and learning needed to figure out how best to manage it. Many of the brands on Alexa now are uninspiring and (dare I say) boring. Bringing a little personality to the table (or speaker as it were) certainly can't hurt. And brands thinking about this question before rushing to add a skill and content certainly will help.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2018

    Kroger teams with Alibaba to sell private labels to half-a-billion Chinese consumers

    While this is not a "global expansion of the U.S. grocery giant" it is a global expansion of an important brand for Kroger. Simple Truth is already the largest U.S. natural and organic brand. With access to Chinese consumers, it can take the mantle of "largest global natural and organic brand." This new source of revenue can help fuel Kroger's overall expansion and allow them an unfair competitive advantage.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2018 to offer easier returns for marketplace purchases

    Reducing any barriers to sales is a good thing for shoppers. May not be such a good thing for marketplace vendors given higher than in-store rate of returns for online vs. in-store.

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