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: 08/22/2019

    Groupon hopes its rewards program engenders more loyalty

    Numbers from mobile apps and loyalty programs are hard to read. 150,000 members out of 45,000,000 active. Not as strong a start as one would think. Depends on their definition of active. For Groupon to best monetize their audience - with vouchers or otherwise - will require a highly active, frequent touch model with higher spend. Using card-linked offers vs vouchers may help, but as a shopper do I turn to Groupon for this or my credit card?
  • Posted on: 08/22/2019

    Will shoppers thank heaven for mobile checkout at 7-Eleven?

    It's time to put the convenience back into convenience stores. Making the shopper faster and smarter makes the experience better and will engender greater loyalty. This is a shrewd move that serves as a point of differentiation today (but likely will be a point of parity in the near future).
  • Posted on: 08/09/2019

    Will the next big thing since Starbucks be run by robots?

    While Briggo Coffee’s robotic Coffee Haus can replace Starbucks coffee, they will never replace Starbucks. Starbucks is much more than the beverage, it's the beverage experience. But the Coffee Haus robots can certainly fill a big niche where and when people are looking for a fix and a shop is impractical to visit or unavailable -- think of this as a walk-up drive-thru. Of course, the coffee must be good!
  • Posted on: 08/09/2019

    Is it a stretch for Target to carry Levi’s pricier red tab jeans?

    There's a difference between higher-priced apparel lines and high-priced apparel lines. Levis' red tab moves Target fashion upstream, but it does not make them upscale -- it's a good fit for both players. Using data from shoppers (based on existing product searches) is a good way to ensure success.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2019

    Amazon adds personal shopping to Prime Wardrobe

    If you think about it, almost all of Amazon is "only pay for what you want" as it is very easy to return almost anything. This new fashion proposition seems an odd fit for the big, impersonal Amazon brand. Not saying they won't have a good business here eventually, but there will be mental hurdles among consumers.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2019

    Your company has a vision: Why can’t everyone see it?

    Short and easy to remember are important, but the buy-in is critical as well. You can train the vision, but if associates don't buy into the vision it won't happen.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2019

    Your company has a vision: Why can’t everyone see it?

    Two simple yet difficult to achieve elements must be present to drive successful vision statements: specificity and engagingness. If it is too generic it just becomes rhetoric. If it is not something an organization can embrace as their own it becomes ignored.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2019

    Are cloud kitchens the next evolution of food delivery?

    "By 2030 most meals currently cooked at home are instead ordered online and delivered from either restaurants or central kitchens"... really?! This is an example of puffery by an investment bank to generate interest in a category and make headlines. There is a huge opportunity here, but it does not mean the end of restaurants or retail as we know it. The major winners will be the startups looking to break into the restaurant business who can now do so with low overhead.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2019

    Will free, same-day pickup give Sam’s Club the edge it has been looking for over Costco?

    Convenience is the name of the game, so this will be beneficial for Sam's -- but only until Costco offers the same service. The game of retail is based on multiple points of parity and points of differentiation. I don't see this as being a long-term, sustainable point of difference that others can't (or won't) offer.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2019

    Crate and Barrel takes the feed them and they will come approach

    Having a restaurant in Crate and Barrel serves both to highlight the occasion-based usage of their merchandise and gets people to linger. Both are valuable benefits to the brand that should serve them well. Placing items in the context of the meal occasion can help drive purchase as shoppers/diners will be more familiar with items and have already "tried" them.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2019

    Location-based marketing is spreading beyond smartphones

    Increasingly consumers are paying more attention to their data footprint and their "data rights." They're waking up to the realization that it's a valuable resource. This means they're starting to ask more questions about how it's collected, who has access to it, and how it's used. Inevitably and unsurprisingly, governments are not only starting to pay more attention but acting on what they perceive to be industry issues and abuses.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Does blockchain face scalability limitations?

    Blockchain is a promising technology in so many ways -- emphasis on promising. There have been a lot of great use case examples, but for it to be a dominant technology it will have to scale massively. And so far, it has not shown the ability to do so in as reliable a manner as many industries need.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Target expands its college tour

    College campuses have not emerged into a viable growth opportunity, they have ALWAYS been a growth opportunity. College students are needy (always looking for convenient ways to buy needed items). While online has cut into some of their needs, retailers who establish a presence at college can drive short term sales and engender long term loyalty.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Is Walmart at an online crossroads?

    To call out Walmart as being at an online crossroads is unfair -- the fact of the matter is everyone is playing catch up to Amazon. The key to success is to not focus externally, but internally. Walmart must leverage their own unique strategic advantages as they explore what shoppers want. If they try to compete on Amazon's turf they will lose. If they use their own strengths (BOPIS, grocery, etc.) they can grow their online sales without losing their shirts!
  • Posted on: 06/17/2019

    Does self-checkout make sense for Costco?

    This story strikes me as interesting as our local Costco has had self-scan checkouts for years...they never went away to be reintroduced. That being said, given the mix of shoppers at Costco having a quicker option for those with fewer items to speed up the process is a good thing. At our store, there are always lines and self-checkout is a viable, important option for shoppers. Certainly more pros than cons!

Contact Michael

  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.