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: 10/04/2019

    Should companies have to pay you to use your personal data?

    This is a bit contrarian, but we do receive compensation for data. When we download apps or use websites we don't pay for what we use, so advertising and sharing of personal data is the fee for content and services -- whether we like it or not. Of course, most people don't understand the data crumbs we leave or the extent of how that data is used. And much of the data we share (willingly or not) then takes on a life of its own. Better transparency and control are certainly needed so Yang's proposal does have legs.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2019

    In power move, Walmart expands Delivery Unlimited

    Build it and they will come; make it easy and they will keep coming. Walmart's stores offer an advantage for fresh delivery (a key reason Amazon bought Whole Foods) and with their larger customer base, rolling out this service will be a boon to their business and take away from others. Convenience is the name of the game going forward -- the question will be at what price for customers (and if the cost works for Walmart, given the "unlimited" aspect).
  • Posted on: 09/12/2019

    What keeps online shoppers from creating user accounts?

    People prefer to receive communications from brands via email over any other medium -- likely because they then have control of the dialogue. But with so much email to wade through these days people are overwhelmed and can't keep up with their current inbox, so why add more? Combine this with privacy risks plus companies losing personal data and it's a recipe for not signing up. Creating a user account with a retailer is a sign of trust and an expectation of value; smart retailers express the value of the relationship (and expectations) upfront.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2019

    Starbucks developing new store dedicated to pickup and delivery orders

    For Starbucks, which built its business on the idea of becoming a "third place" (outside your home and office), this shift is a (sad) significant one. But one that is becoming ever more a reality as we lead faster-than-ever lives. We want what we want when we want it; foodservice operators able to deliver that will win in today's economy.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2019

    Would you go to Walmart to see a doctor?

    This is a shrewd move for Walmart to deepen loyalty with its core shopper. As we've discussed recently, loyalty is not just about price discounts and purchases, but also offering goods and services that matter most. With the health care crisis in this country, many will be more likely to turn to a company like Walmart which they already trust.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Simple answers to fix retail’s loyalty marketing mess

    The biggest issue with traditional retail loyalty programs is that they are "programs" and not fully integrated into the business and the consumer experience. This means they are run separately and seen as discount programs or worse, as e-mail offer programs only. We must strike the term "loyalty" from our lexicon. No one says "I want to be more loyal to a retailer" today -- especially because of discounts and offers. Instead, they always weigh the overall costs and benefits of shopping and make a decision on where to shop. Retailers need to stop making the decision to start a "loyalty program" and instead make the decision to better know their shoppers and offer greater value to them.
  • Posted on: 09/03/2019

    Will Lowe’s score with its ‘homegating’ game plan?

    At home viewing - and entertaining - is a much bigger opportunity than game attendance. Lowe's is smart to run into the open hole in the retail landscape that is homegating. Fan passion runs high and this offers an incremental opportunity for Lowe's.
  • Posted on: 09/03/2019

    Walmart and BuzzFeed deliver shoppable recipes

    Any time you can remove friction from the shopping experience it is beneficial. Food is a category where inspiration plays a significant role; shoppable recipes drive a more direct connection between inspiration and conversion.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2019

    Is it time for retailers to create a tech strategy for pop-up shops?

    Simply put: if the tech employed by pop-up retailers can't keep up, the opportunity for connection is lost. As they say, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." Tech deployment must be given as much thought as the experiential expression of the brand.
  • 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.

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