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: 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.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2021

    Walmart gives associates free phones and a mobile work app

    The Walmart associate app is more "it's about time" than "breakthrough." Giving associates tools to perform and deliver better customer service is critical. This is certainly a step in the right direction.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2021

    Will closing stores on Thanksgiving become the new retail tradition?

    It goes without saying that in 2020 and 2021 retail has experienced significant changes. At the center of it all are the retail associates who have stood strong and deserve praise. Closing on Thanksgiving to allow associates to spend time with family is a nice touch. After all, we can all still order online -- most of us do anyway.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2021

    Has augmented reality tech reached an inflection point at retail?

    AR can enhance the retail experience. But, the key is to "enhance" not take away from or distract. When used well AR can help with shoppability, improve shopper understanding, and increase stickiness. When used poorly, it can get in the way or may simply be ignored.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2021

    Simon CEO says Americans are experiencing ‘euphoria’ as they return to malls

    As bad as the pandemic has been, "euphoria" at returning to malls? Nah.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2021

    Are brands and retailers defining authenticity on their own terms or consumers’?

    Similar to brand position, consumers (not brands) decide what's authentic. Brands should not attempt to actively convey authenticity to consumers, they should actively convey their brand characteristics and be transparent versus attempting to pose as something they are not.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2021

    Will Americans open their garages and homes to Amazon and Walmart?

    Hmm. I'd rather give a known entity like Amazon or Walmart access to my garage than have them leave something on the porch in plain view. If there are issues there will be recourse for fixing. Especially as we return to work, this convenience will grow.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2021

    Kroger says it will transform grocery e-commerce with ‘first of its kind’ fulfillment tech

    One logistics win is not going to “transform” grocery e-commerce in the U.S. The partnership with Ocado could very easily give Kroger a huge advantage and save costs, but their robots won’t take over the world of grocery e-commerce. Clearly there are opportunities to improve the supply chain for grocery e-commerce, so this is an important step.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2021

    Toms finds one-for-one charitable model doesn’t add up for its business

    Toms was long known for their one-for-one model. Any shift from that - even beneficial - will be met with criticism as we've become anchored to the message for so long. So, it's a change. The platform - or sole/soul - of Toms model was about helping others with clothing, something no one can argue with. As Toms evolves to other issues (and there are a multitude of social issues for brands to engage in) it opens up the brand to criticism based on the causes they engage with.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2021

    Amazon’s Prime Day is coming earlier and possibly twice

    Here comes the revenge spending! Pent up demand is about to be unleashed. Amazon is shrewd to take advantage of this and continue to grow their business.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2021

    Are you feeling loyal?

    As with all other elements of our world, the pandemic deeply impacted the loyalty business. Shifts in travel and work have devalued many popular loyalty programs. In the post-pandemic world, the math has changed; one dollar for one mile no longer equals a dollar in the minds of consumers. It's ironic as many of the airlines were able to leverage the value of their loyalty programs for loans and other concessions to stay afloat last year. Those assets are no longer worth the same. At the end of the day, the model must shift and many consumers are in for a change to their reward earning.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2021

    How did COVID-19 change the rules on food innovation?

    Where do we even start? The COVID-19 pandemic is a generation-defining event that will influence how consumers and shoppers behave for years. People around the globe have been forced - or have chosen - to change their buying habits. "Forced change" accelerated the adoption of e-commerce and caused shoppers to expand their repertoire of retailers and brands as they experienced trouble at their regular stores. Simply put, during COVID-19 consumers have become more promiscuous in their shopping. To account for this - especially for new products - make sure you tell a clear, compelling story and make sure the product benefit is instantly recognized, understood, and persuasive.

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