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.

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  • Posted on: 11/23/2022

    Will a new shopping platform redefine the formula for AI-driven personalization?

    The dual issue of shopping is one we all love to explore but we want it to be easy. If this new site and its embedded tech can truly serve up personalized recommendations that is a win. But many have gone down this path and (so far) many have yet to reach the promised land.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2022

    How should Mary Dillon reimagine Foot Locker?

    Retail is more than just products; experience matters. The best retailers understand the importance of understanding their consumers. The best retailers dive deep to learn who their customers are, what's important to them, and how they buy.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2022

    Will cracking down on serial returners solve retailers’ return problem?

    Behavioral science tells us that a focused policy to deter habitual returners is best. People will respond positively to making those serial returners pay. Even the serial returners will likely applaud as they likely self-rationalize their behavior and don't see themselves as doing something bad. Whether this puts a dent in the problem remains to be seen.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2022

    Are department store shoppers getting a late start on Christmas or taking a pass?

    A cloudy forecast has held back some shoppers and some retailers. Late holiday buying adds another cloud to what may be an approaching 2023 storm. Regardless, markdowns should always be done strategically, and retailers should not pull the trigger too early based on late buying to date. Slashing prices due to fear is a recipe for a Holiday and New Year hangover.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2022

    Are home improvement shows changing the purchasing path to reno projects?

    Home improvement content creates aspiration and inspiration that retailers must tap into. The popularity of home improvement continues to endure and smart retailers should highlight their offerings appropriately, whether it is making a dream home or renovating for resale.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2022

    Will Amazon cash in on the P2P payment market?

    Adding payment options can only help reduce friction for shoppers (and increase retailer sales). Allowing people to pay as they choose is helpful as the payment landscape continues to expand and change -- this is not likely the last change for retail payments.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2022

    Adidas drops the other shoe on Ye

    Some saw their reaction as slow? All should view it as slow. Associating your brand with someone who brags about hate speech should not be allowed or emboldened. You might think a company founded by an early member of the Nazi Party might be extra sensitive when someone so closely associated with their brand would start spouting antisemitic and other racist tropes.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2022

    Does Krispy Kreme fill a hole in McDonald’s menu?

    Augmenting the Crisp Apple Pie and McFlurry with Krispy Kreme is a brilliant move for McDonald's. Especially as the ice cream machines are always broken. Krispy Kreme fills a gap for McDonald's, making this a smart (and sweet) move.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2022

    Kroger and Albertsons are merging

    As inflation rears its ugly head and seemingly can't be stopped, retailers will need to figure out strategies to address getting squeezed by manufacturers who want to charge more and shoppers who want to pay less. Likely the FTC will have something to say about this, but if it is approved it may very well lead to more "sameness" across the country (good for synergies, bad for shoppers).
  • Posted on: 09/29/2022

    Will Amazon’s $1 billion payroll investment work to keep front lines staffed?

    Anytime Pay and similar programs, are growing in retail and foodservice. It's smart to offer frontline employees access to their money earned shortly after they have earned it versus weekly or bi-weekly. Especially for lower-paying jobs, it can be an incentive. Amazon - and all retailers - will need to work hard to attract and maintain frontline workers and while this is a step in the right direction, it may not be enough.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2022

    Are marketers shortchanging product placement’s reach?

    Product placement was at the start of advertising and has always played an important role. As long as it is done tastefully, product placement can come across as authentic and organic. And even sometimes critical to the story. If you think about influencer marketing, to some extent it is just a new way to do product placement.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2022

    Walmart enters the metaverse on Roblox

    Showing up on a platform like Roblox adds relevancy -- and perhaps sales, too. Historically, marketers must test new channels, and Walmart's test and learn approach is a great one.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2022

    FTC commissioner says it’s time to enforce the Robinson-Patman Act

    The key word is "preferential" and who decides what that means...
  • Posted on: 09/23/2022

    FTC commissioner says it’s time to enforce the Robinson-Patman Act

    Doesn't the government itself expect a "bulk discount?! The FTC itself summarizes it that "A seller charging competing buyers different prices for the same 'commodity' or discriminating in the provision of "allowances" — compensation for advertising and other services" is price discrimination. Resurrecting a 1936 law that does not take the current day into account -- perfect!
  • Posted on: 09/23/2022

    Is an influencer a legit career?

    Influencer IS a legit career, but NOT an easy one. For every one that makes a living as an influencer, there are likely thousands who cannot live on the income they earn. So tread carefully.

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