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: 09/22/2020

    Grocers are primed to compete with Amazon’s free grocery delivery

    Grocers must rethink, realign, and replan their businesses to better compete with Amazon. The grocery business model has not fundamentally changed in decades and now must handle rapid modernization and rapid change due to COVID-19 and competition. Amazon has the advantage of technology and white sheet planning. Grocers must fight a battle on two fronts: offering an excellent consumer experience in-store and an excellent user experience online. AI-enabled supply chain planning to better handle demand may help on both fronts.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2020

    Retailer saves itself at the buzzer with TikTok

    It's a gross overstatement to say that TikTok will save retail, but it might save SOME retailers. Retailers with great stories to tell and an emphasis on visual storytelling can benefit from TikTok, or Instagram Reels, or the next short-form video app. Success here will be driven by the merchandising mix, the story of the products, and the creativity of the retailers.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2020

    FAA gives permission for Amazon’s drones to take off

    Permission to try does not mean success. Even an approved test in one or two communities does not signal success is to come. There is a mountain of hurdles for drone delivery to become a reality even in a single market. The near term future will be costly and full of experiments. We are still a long way off before any of these players (despite their funding) have a fully functioning drone delivery system.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2020

    Digital coupons find redemption in the stay-at-home economy

    The downfall of print has been as widely reported as the downfall of physical retail. Neither are going away, we are just shifting usage as a society. It all comes down to ease of use and convenience. Just because it's more expensive to print vs deliver digitally does not mean shoppers prefer digital. This is another case of "know your shopper" and deliver on those needs. "Both" is the answer for the foreseeable future.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2020

    Why does Amazon want a fitness tracker?

    Simple answer -- Amazon wants more data. Amazon already dipped their toes into the healthcare space with the acquisition of PillPack. According to the latest data, total U.S. healthcare spending in 2020 will be over $3.65 trillion, which equates to 17.8 percent of GDP. This is a big untapped (for Amazon) revenue pool.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2020

    Taco Bell reinvents drive-thru to speed pick-up

    Taco Bell seems to have adopted many of the features that have made Chick-fil-A the winner via mobile ordering and drive-thru. The concierges are a particularly smart choice as they not only help speed up the process, but they make the wait seem shorter by serving people along the lines. The tech additions sound smart, but the proof will be in the delivery (pun intended).
  • Posted on: 08/07/2020

    DoorDash delivers a virtual convenience store

    It's interesting that the news of DashMart's offering came at roughly the same time that Uber announced earnings and the impact of Uber Eats. Uber Eats bookings were up 113 percent last quarter, pushing revenue to $1.2 billion. While it's the first quarter the food delivery unit surpassed its ride-hailing business. Yet the company still had net losses of $1.8 billion. This goes to show the rapid delivery business is tough and maybe unprofitable. It's going to be even harder to make money off Pepsi, Ho Hos, and beef jerky.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2020

    Are pop-up shops more relevant in a pandemic-altered world?

    Be it selling extra merchandise, trying out a new idea, or simply acting as a means to open when they otherwise could not, pop-up shops offer retailers flexibility. In this day and age, especially for retail, flexibility and nimbleness are things that are sorely needed.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2020

    Survey says Amazon and Walmart are among the most patriotic brands

    During the coronavirus pandemic, consumers have been more "up for grabs" than ever before. Supply chain issues and more have forced shoppers to buy new and different products while stay-at-home orders accelerated e-commerce. So, yes, consumer loyalty and brand engagement are upended and consumers are open. Today, it's about getting on the list and staying there via direct-to-consumer relationships and being present when shopping digitally.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2020

    How is Tractor Supply acing the pandemic?

    Here’s the lesson: sexy does not always sell. Smart operators who understand their business and are adept at meeting their shopper needs will always win. Pandemic or not.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2020

    Is the future of malls outside?

    While open-air malls may be better positioned for survival than enclosed malls, saying that is like saying the seats in the middle of the plane are safest in a crash. Until a vaccine is found, all high-concentration retailers are at risk. Sales per square foot has long been an important metric in physical retail. As long as restrictions limit the number of people in retail stores, and the density of stores exacerbates the problem, there is a risk.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2020

    What roles will store displays play in retail’s new normal?

    While displays have changed in terms of items promoted during the pandemic, things will return to "normal" sooner rather than later as displays play a critical role for retailers and brands to promote their products and a critical role in the' bottom line of retailers.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Macy’s plans for the Christmas rush

    The holiday season will be hard to predict accurately at this point, but we do know this: Crowds drive the Black Friday business model. Crowds don’t make sense today and won't during Black Friday either. But people will still shop, so look for Black Friday to be digital heavier than ever. PS: Will Macy's still around come holiday time?
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Has COVID-19 exacerbated online return challenges?

    The Reverse-Logistics Conundrum of 2020 is real. Buying online is as simple as one click, but returns are much more complicated - for both shoppers and retailers. The e-commerce winners will be those who make BOTH buying and returning easy.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Walmart debuts virtual summer camp and drive-in movie programs

    You had us at Neil Patrick Harris and camp. Walmart is taking the idea of retailtainment to a new high. They are showing huge empathy to shoppers at a time that matters. Bravo!

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.