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: 05/12/2022

    Google rethinks employee reviews and promotions process

    Feedback on performance should not be "an event" but an ongoing dialogue. Gaining insight into one's perceived performance is a valuable tool. Peer feedback is invaluable. Empowering employees and working under the assumption that most employees deliver is a smart move for Google. Companies with engaged employees deliver better results and higher returns.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2022

    ‘Babe’ star makes dramatic gesture over Starbucks’ upcharge for non-dairy milk

    Well, if celebrities have issues, let's all jump to fix them. Realistically, don't we have more important things to worry about versus what celebrities think? Different products have different costs. Full stop.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2022

    Would grocery delivery be a healthy addition to Apple’s business?

    Rotten to the core? If Apple moved into grocery delivery, it would tread into dangerous territory and risk much. Hardware and subscription services are "easy" compared to e-commerce and grocery delivery.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2022

    Wayfair’s earnings miss may portend trouble for fellow ‘disruptor’ brands

    Wayfair has a history of blowing through cash and not caring about customer acquisition costs and lifetime value. This was exposed way back in 2017/2018 when two Ivy League professors estimated that Wayfair was spending about $69 to acquire new customers, but only earning $59 back from the customer over the long haul. Losing money every time they acquire a new digital customer was not a smart solution then and it is not now. If brands are not smart about their customer acquisition costs and customer lifetime value they are doomed to fail, digital or not.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2022

    Can Starbucks replicate the ‘third place’ in the metaverse?

    The entire metaverse is the third place. So I'm not sure why Starbucks thinks they can own it.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2022

    Has Etsy been missing the boat with men?

    Etsy has a "Lululemon issue" -- although they have great products that can fulfill the needs of men, the marketplace is just not high on the list. But similar to Lululemon, there is great growth potential among the male audience if the brand can highlight how they can fulfill the needs of men.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2022

    Grocers fret over how to pass higher costs onto customers

    Grocery is a tough category to manage price increases. Higher frequency of purchases compared to other channels mean price increases are more apparent for grocery. If you're shopping for eggs or cereal each week, you're sure to notice increases in price -- and adjust your buying if you are on a budget.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2022

    Should grocery shoppers and delivery personnel be talking?

    Two-way communication between the "buyer" and "shopper," however it happens, would be huge in terms of not only order competition but also buyer confidence. Giving buyers greater confidence that their personal shopper will "get it right" will increase online shopping.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2022

    Does resale make sense for Dick’s Sporting Goods?

    This is a great idea that expands Dick's audience and offerings. The retailer already has a bike buy-back program so this is a natural extension. By expanding their offerings they can connect with more shoppers.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2022

    Is human bias frustrating sustainability progress?

    When it comes to sustainability and ESG there is a gap between intention and action. Consumer behavior is not only influenced by long-term rational concerns, but also by short-term emotional ones. Parts of our brains actually think that the tasks we're putting off — and the accompanying negative feelings that await us on the other side — are somebody else's problem. So, if we can automate things, we may be better off.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2022

    Are Old Navy’s issues more about demand than supply?

    Well, they said it right -- they need operational rigor and creative vision. At a time when lower-priced fast fashion should be in vogue, Old Navy is not. They have lost their touch in terms of staying in tune with consumer needs and desires and need to gain back trust. Their stores are messy and not as inviting as they once were. However their model works, just look at the growth of Shein.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2022

    Sam’s Club upgrades its Member’s Mark private label, sustainably

    The move towards "all sustainability" is a bold one that can set the retailer apart. That being said, it will be a hard road ahead as it will require product redevelopment and supply chain planning at a time of difficulties.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2022

    Lands’ End is doubling down on third-party relationships

    It's simple: partnerships (done right) can expand and extend brands. Lands' End has a long history of partnerships -- anyone remember their deal with Sears? Combining with third parties can lead to broader sales success. Other D2C brands have already gone down this path which can be efficient from a marketing standpoint.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2022

    Will Amazon have to ground its drone program?

    Overcoming obstacles is what innovation is all about. If the question of "can Amazon overcome the obstacle of transitioning from books only?" would have been asked at the time they made the move, I'm sure pundits would have said the company should stay in its book store box. While this is complex and may never be mainstream for all deliveries, there is a strong value proposition here to continue to explore.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2022

    Will retailers be ready when the third-party cookies crumble?

    There will be winners and losers as the cookies crumble. Those who don't practice a privacy-first, user consent-based approach to obtaining first-party data will certainly be the losers. Rather than waiting for all of the third-party identifier depreciation to shake out, brands must push forward to experiment, test, and learn what is working today and what will work in the future. The walled gardens - the big tech players and retailers - who have the direct relationship are most likely to come out on top.

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