Michael La Kier

President, 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: <a href=""></a>
  • Posted on: 09/02/2021

    Allbirds simplifies growth drivers to three trends

    I love the brand, but speaking of "sustainability" from a business perspective it's hard to say they are a success -- net revenue for the six months ended June 30 rose 27 percent year-over-year to $118 million. In the same period, its net loss widened to $21 million from $9.5 million. Great products and great buying experiences are table stakes -- people won't be attracted to a crappy, purpose-driven product offering.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2021

    Can marketers successfully shift focus from acquisition to retention?

    Retailers that focus on the "non-digital vs digital" debate are missing the big picture; the focus must be on the shopper and how to best communicate regardless of channel. We don’t live in two worlds (digital and analog) just one. Businesses grow by attracting new customers AND servicing their existing customers not taking their eye off the ball for either.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2021

    Ending prices that end in 99 cents

    Price relativity and price illusions play a big role in our decision-making. We've long known that there is a distinct difference between what people say and what they do. Behavioral economics is the field that has shown us this on multiple occasions. Interestingly, this "study" only had one real-world field application so it's hard to extrapolate it to all fields and all businesses. But one takeaway is to constantly test and shake consumers out of their automatic behavior.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2021

    Amazon finally catches the ‘buy now, pay later’ wave

    Alternative financing, including BNPL options, are increasing. It's a bit of "back to the future" in terms of retail. This should benefit retailers as long as the financing is not on their books.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2021

    Email marketing drives sales results and sometimes drives customers away

    The difference between getting email marketing right and wrong starts and ends with the "unsubscribe" button. The E-mail Frequency Threshold is a function of the subscriber's impression of "too much" rather than a function of "daily," "weekly," or "monthly."
  • Posted on: 08/25/2021

    Do new Shipt and Walmart programs signal big changes to come in the retail delivery market?

    The U.S. delivery market is still very much in start-up mode and is nowhere near stable. While COVID-19 accelerated e-commerce and delivery years in advance it did so in a linear manner. New technology, new methods, and new players will arrive with compelling choices for consumers (and retailers). The competition will become more fierce and the players will shake out.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2021

    Should retail prepare for a vaccine resistant virus?

    If the past 18 months have taught us anything it's that disaster plans should be in place for all brands. Full stop.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2021

    Kroger seeks to ghost up take-home and meal delivery sales with dark kitchens

    Is it a ghost kitchen if there's an actual kitchen and storefront? Convenience is king and if Kroger can up the game on their prepared meals it will only benefit them. Trial will be a significant barrier, but if people can pick up their groceries and food in one location it is an enticing proposition -- as long as the food is good.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2021

    What does the recent sales rebound mean for mask makers and retailers?

    COVID-19 is not going away, vaccines or not. We are likely in for a long haul of seasonal upticks as the disease mutates at the same time we strive for normality. Forecasting demand for all goods - masks included - will be a challenge to say the least.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2021

    Should grocers welcome Instacart’s warehouses?

    Should grocers, or will grocers? Grocers should keep supply chain and e-commerce in-house to ensure quality of service and ownership of the customer (data + experience). Grocers will likely continue to outsource this as they don't have access to capital to pay for this or the expertise in-house.
  • Posted on: 07/28/2021

    Will smaller retailers pay to use Walmart’s tech and transform their own businesses?

    What better proof point exists than "this worked for Walmart" to drive adoption?!? This is a smart move that will create another, sustainable revenue stream for Walmart.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2021

    How do retailers and brands overcome consumers’ ‘green’ skepticism?

    The key to overcoming consumers' "green skepticism" is simple: brands must do what they say their going to do.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2021

    Retailers expected to ace the back-to-school sales test

    Pent-up demand will likely push Back to School 2021 over the top in terms of sales. That being said, it's likely we all have a closet full of hand sanitizer and wipes so we won't be buying those this season.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2021

    What distinguished e-commerce winners and losers during the pandemic?

    The winners of the pandemic e-commerce boom were the big brands and the niche players -- those in the middle got squeezed. Big brands have the benefit of scale and familiarity, which reduced the barrier to trying new habits. The niche brands offered something unique and helped people solve a problem. Those in the middle did not offer anything meaningful and got passed over. Of course, this analysis excludes supply chain issues and technology issues...
  • Posted on: 06/07/2021

    What will Etsy do with Depop?

    It certainly shifts the focus of Etsy to acquire Depop. But it also brings a new marketplace to second-hand fashion which is good for shoppers and good for the environment.

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