How Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality” Inspired Game-Changing Marketing Technology


How Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality” Inspired Game-Changing Marketing Technology

April 4, 2021

At 9:45 a.m. on January 26, 2020, a helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people crashed near Los Angeles, killing all on board. Millions of fans around the world were stunned by the news, including Sightly’s CRO and GM, Adam Katz, who had grown up watching Bryant’s entire career from beginning to end. 

During the days following the tragedy, Katz was struck by the outpouring of positive sentiment for Bryant. Here was a player who at one point early in his career was considered toxic by most brand sponsors. Now, many years later upon his death, he was being widely revered and remembered for how he’d reformed himself with a mindset he’d adopted and called the ‘Mamba Mentality.’

The perfect marketing and media storm

Fast-forward a couple months to the sudden onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic—quarantines, lockdowns, panic reactions, etc. Brands struggled to pivot, especially those with money locked into upfront agreements.

Fast-forward a couple more months to the BLM protests and marches across the country. Brands again witnessed the need for nimble messaging and media placement in the face of dynamically shifting sentiment.

While making continuous adjustments to keep customers’ brands safe and suitable in their digital media campaigns, the Sightly team noted an explosion in the amount and pace of news.

Every day, every hour, even every moment, there was something new happening digitally, socially, culturally that needed responding to on behalf of each agency and brand customer.

Most of the events and viral trends also had become more complex and nuanced as they ebbed and flowed. Reactions to them evolved over a matter of hours or days, sometimes changing focus and sentiment.

No wonder a survey conducted in May showed that brand CMOs in the US felt their biggest challenge going forward was ‘understanding consumer behavior changes,’ and number three was ‘aligning with new/changing customer sentiment.’1

Brand CMOs challenged by change

Polarizing moment leads to aha moment

An eye-popping moment occurred when the CEO of a client‘s competitor came out backing one of the political parties. The strong reaction in the market to this CEO’s statements suddenly highlighted how polarizing politics and cultural moments like these had become. Sightly was able to leverage the controversy for its customer—but the opportunity went away as quickly as it had arisen.

And this is where Kobe came back into play…

Photo by Alexandra Walt - Kobe Bryant and Mamba Mentality

“I went back to his ‘mentality’ concept and I realized that every brand would react differently to all these moments based on their mindsets,” Katz explained. 

It became obvious that brands needed a wider lens—one that could help them define what was truly suitable and safe, yes—but also one that could identify the opportunities.

Sightly had been developing products that incorporated industry brand safety standards from GARM, IAB, the 4As, etc. “Based on what was happening, we felt we wanted to expand on that and create a platform that gave brands the ability to put their own opinions in market as they see fit, to respond with speed to scenarios the way they feel,” Katz added. “We call it Brand Mentality™.”

Kobe Bryant’s mentality came from the Black Mamba persona he adopted, named after a deadly snake assassin in a Quentin Tarantino film.2 Over time, his Mamba Mentality grew to signify the total focus and dedication to his craft, a mindset that drove him to become one of the greatest and most admired players in the history of the game.

How Mamba Mentality informs Brand Mentality™

In his 2018 book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, Bryant wrote:

“The mindset isn’t about seeking a result—it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life. I do think that it’s important, in all endeavors, to have that mentality.”

In another section of the book, he added this:

“Keep it real. When I was young, my mindset was image, image, image. As I became more experienced I realized: No matter what, people are going to like you or not like you. So be authentic, and let them like you for who you actually are.”3

“What you see from Kobe is the excellence in the details, and continuous refinement,” observed Albert Thompson, Managing Director of Digital at Walton Issacson. “The whole notion of Brand Mentality is it changes as the story changes. And that is very much how the human mind works. Nothing lives on absolute terms anymore. It’s in and out and then moves to a new narrative or just goes away all together.”

Defining its Brand Mentality helps a brand establish its unique mindset and approach in market. It humanizes a brand so it can move with speed to drive outcomes and respond in real time to events, threats and opportunities that arise moment to moment. 

Listen to the full discussion of Brand Mentality in this recent episode of eMarketer’s popular Behind the Numbers podcast.


  1. Biggest Challenge for CMOs? Understanding Consumer Behavior Changes
  2. How Kobe Bryant’s ‘Mamba Mentality’ changed the NBA, by James Herbert, Jan 29, 2020
  3. The Mamba Mentality—How I Play, by Kobe Bryant, text ©2018 Kobe, Inc.

In the Living Room: Your Best CTV Strategy for the New Year


In the Living Room: Your Best CTV Strategy for the New Year

January 11, 2021

The year that most of us would rather forget produced effects that will linger well into this new year and beyond for advertisers and media agencies.

Trends in digital video and TV that had been moving incrementally for years suddenly fast-forwarded in 2020, thanks to a surge in demand beginning with lockdowns and quarantines in Q2, and impacts on production, including bellwether traditional TV content like sports events and live audience shows.1

In the Livingroom Young People Watch YouTube on CTV

Cord cutters, cord nevers and on-demanders

For example, while audiences overall have been shifting from traditional TV to streaming video for several years, a couple key statistics indicate how the pandemic has accelerated this trend.

  • Pay TV providers (cable, satellite and telecom) lost the most subscribers ever in one year—6.6 million households—down 7.5% year-over-year. Total households now stand at 77.6, which is down 22.8% from pay TV’s peak in 2014. By the end of 2024, fewer than half of US households will subscribe to a pay TV service.2
  • Connected TV households surpassed the 100 million mark for the first time, topping out at 104.7 million, or almost 81% of US homes. That number is up 82.1% from 2014. By the end of 2024, almost 86% of US households will use connected TV.3

Industry observers and analysts feel these accelerated trends are likely to continue this year and that CTV may have already reached a tipping point in its adoption.

Nielsen reported in June that “the rise in total media consumption during shelter-in-place restrictions was expected and has been well documented to date, but the persistent high levels of CTV use across smart TVs, internet-connected devices and game consoles suggests that life in the new normal includes a heavier dose of connected TV use than before the lockdowns.”4

US Connected TV Households 2020-2024

And Adweek added that this “…underscores the belief among many television streaming executives and onlookers that the pandemic may prompt an acceleration in streaming migration.”5

Get your complimentary copy of eMarketer/Insider Intelligence US YouTube Advertising 2020 report 

US YouTube Advertising 2020 Report

Digital video and CTV top ad formats in 2021

The pandemic has had similar effects on advertising as well. eMarketer/Insider Intelligence reported that time spent with digital video will grow another 19.4% in 2021.6 

And in its annual YouTube advertising report, it spotlighted the digital video platform’s dominance in OTT viewership and its significance for CTV advertisers:

  • YouTube is the largest ad-supported digital video platform in the US in reach and time spent. In 2020, YouTube was watched by 214.9 million Americans, making up 74.2% of US internet users.
  • This year, 95.4% of US OTT video viewers will watch YouTube at least monthly, surpassing even Netflix (74.9%). YouTube is second only to Netflix in share of time spent with OTT video in the US, particularly notable given that YouTube is largely ad-supported. 
  • During the coronavirus pandemic, YouTube saw both viewing and ad revenue increase due to behavioral shifts. For TV advertisers, this accelerated trend could make the platform a powerful alternative for those looking to re-allocate ad dollars from television to digital video.
OTT Video Viewer Penetration, by Provider - US, 2020

Your best CTV plans include YouTube

The eMarketer report concludes that in 2021, advertisers wanting to extend the reach of their TV campaigns to digital video and CTV will increasingly target their audiences on YouTube.

Not only is YouTube the most-used digital video platform in the US, it is “the single biggest source of supply in US CTV advertising. YouTube’s outsize role in the US CTV space is particularly striking given that advertisers can’t access CTV inventory on YouTube on non-Google platforms (e.g., Roku).”7

Whether your desired outcome is TV extension or digital video reach, branding or action, your best plan should include a mix of:

  • Audience- or content-targeted YouTube on CTV—then augment it as needed with
  • CTV on other platforms or
  • YouTube across other devices.

Contact Sightly’s strategy team for specific digital video and CTV ideas you could incorporate into your next plans.

How Brand Loyalty is Disappearing and What to Do About It


How Brand Loyalty is Disappearing—and What to Do About It

Updated March 22, 2021

We’ve heard a lot about how the pandemic has accelerated several marketing/media trends such as cord cutting,1 online shopping2 and live video viewing.3 But we haven’t heard as much about how COVID is accelerating the erosion of brand loyalty.

Marketing teams have been battling this problem for decades. The emergence and growth of national retailers, private labeling, competitive “everyday low” pricing, and ecommerce-driven convenience shopping have chipped away at brand loyalty over time. And the situation has become worse throughout 2020 and into 2021.

shopping online

How bad is it?

According to Fortune magazine, communications agency Ketchum reported in July that “…45% of American shoppers have altered their brand preference amid the rapid changes in the world.” And only month later, McKinsey’s research estimated that number at 73%.4

How has the pandemic made it worse?

The pandemic certainly has accelerated the shift to online shopping. Shopify reports that 52% of buyers say they’ve shifted more of their spending to online. This has contributed to an even greater shift to private label brands and is further eroding brand loyalty by:

  • Exposing consumers to the opinions of other consumers through connected ratings and reviews
  • Promoting/positioning certain products over others in search results (e.g., “Amazon’s Choice”), and
  • Attaching price breaks, faster delivery or both to certain products during sorting and selection.

More people are drawn to deals when their finances are constricted, and they are more likely to sacrifice brand preference for lower cost or greater value.

Many people also have started buying more from small, local businesses, according to Shopify. 46% of buyers in the US and Canada said they made purchases from local, independently-owned businesses since the pandemic started.5

Is it going to last?

McKinsey’s analysts expect these attitudes to continue beyond the COVID-19 period. According to its research, 75 to 83% of US consumers plan to stick with brand loyalty-eroding behaviors post-pandemic.6 (See chart from McKinsey & Company report.)

Mary Elizabeth Germaine, partner and managing director at Ketchum Analytics, adds, “We’re seeing massive consumer behavior shifts that are likely to persist.”

Ketchum’s study found that “62% of people who have changed their brand preference will make that a permanent change before the pandemic is over.”7

What do we do about it?

Some industry stakeholders recommend integrating brand-building media tactics with ecommerce experiences as a way to battle loyalty defections in the online purchase process.

Suggestions include running paid search, display and video ads on retailer sites and apps, as well as placing other paid promotions in retailers’ targeted emails and social posts.8

McKinsey & Company chart

These tactics increase brand visibility at critical points and help retain previously loyal customers. However, they may not be enough to revive fading sentiment, as there are deeper forces at work eroding brand loyalty. They have been gathering momentum for many years and COVID has added much weight and speed.

Change is the new loyalty

Writing on Retail in Forbes back in 2016, marketing strategist Kathleen Kusek cited a study from a year earlier by the digital and consumer loyalty firm Catalina that 90 of the top 100 CPG brands were losing market share on what were then and still are “consistently low-growth categories.”9 

This trend was amplified by McKinsey at the time, which reported that loyalty still drove purchasing behaviors in only three of 30 major categories.10

group on phones

Kusek contended that this signaled a revolutionary new “philosophy of buying” not based on loyalty at all but on something completely antithetical to it — change

Cultural and attitudinal shifts, driven largely by progressive technology, have been transforming bedrock institutions such as marriage, religion, politics and business for decades, elevating change to hero status and placing significantly more value on the “new” or “different” vs. the “known.” She summed it up this way:

“The consistent theme is that change is not something to be feared or avoided. Change is inherently good. And the hankering for change is increasing at an accelerated rate.”11

What she couldn’t have known writing in 2016 is that in 2020 and 2021, COVID would super-accelerate our consumption of change and solidify its prominence in our habits and desires.

Embracing change

As their audiences consume more and more change — sudden events, breaking news, social swings, tipping points, viral trends, the latest craze — brands and their agencies need a way to: 

  • Read emerging signals in the vast ocean of data generated every moment by our current technologies, 
  • Tap into their previously unspoken Brand Mentality™ for instructions about what matters, and
  • Respond most opportunistically in real time.

This need has led us to develop a solution that is win for all parties—brands, agencies and publishers alike. It encompasses brand safety and suitability standards in an entirely new framework called Brand Mentality—a brand’s unique worldview and “human-like” mindset that aligns with its audiences.

Brand Mentality™ unique mindset

Brands and their agencies can tap into this framework to move with speed to respond effectively to viral trends, breaking news, industry moves, influencers and thought leaders, even in short windows of opportunity.

One CPG client quickly drove a 7x increase in purchase intent behaviors using our solution when some controversial news polarized a competitor’s customers.

For more details about our Brand Mentality™ framework, select the button below to request a private seminar for you and your team:


  1. 6 More Trends That Coronavirus Has Accelerated
  2. 5 Consumer Trends Accelerated by COVID-19
  3. US Digital Users 2020 – Insider Intelligence Trends, Forecasts & Statistics
  4. Brand loyalty is changing due to the pandemic
  5. 5 Consumer Trends Accelerated by COVID-19
  6. Consumer sentiment and behavior continue to reflect the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis
  7. Brand Reckoning 2020: How Crisis Culture Is Redefining Consumer Behavior, Loyalty and Values
  8. The Cost of Convenience: Declining Brand Loyalty
  9. The Death Of Brand Loyalty: Cultural Shifts Mean It’s Gone Forever
  10. Technology Is Eroding Consumer Loyalty
  11. The Death Of Brand Loyalty: Cultural Shifts Mean It’s Gone Forever

What Are the Big Challenges for Advertisers and Marketers Right Now?


What Are the Big Challenges for Advertisers & Marketers Right Now?

November 10, 2020

What’s Going to Happen Next and How Do We Respond? 

Those two have to be at the top of the listquestions that probably have been keeping a lot of usincluding CMOs, brand managers and agency teamsup at night the past several months.

Put another way: how do we react minute-by-minute to the unprecedented speed and magnitude of changing events that has suddenly become the new normal?

Things were moving pretty fast before COVID-19 but now the game has ratcheted up several levels. It seems that every day brings multiple pivotal moments. And it likely won’t ever go back to the way it was.

The world is moving at warp speed now

The pandemic has magnified our reliance on connected devices—to communicate about personal and business matters, to get news and opinions, to share comments…and comment on the comments until sometimes they come full circle and become news items of their own.

No wonder a survey released just last week showed that CMOs in the US feel their biggest challenge is understanding consumer behavior changes. And number three  was aligning with new/changing customer sentiment.1

Audiences Are Moving Faster Than We Can React

Back in March, prior to quarantine, two-thirds of Americans were checking their smartphones an average of 166 times per day. That was up from 96 times per day the previous year, so imagine what the number is now.2 

66% of Americans check their phones 166 times a day

Some other signs of the times:

  • Global content consumption has doubled since the start of the pandemic, with 48% of consumers spending more time on social media.3 
  • For Q2 2020, Twitter increased its year-over-year Monetizeable Daily Active Users (mDAU) to 186 million, a 34% increase, which is the highest quarterly year-over-year growth rate delivered since the company began reporting mDAU growth.4 
  • Mobile app usage surged 25% in the third quarter of 2020 as people continue to work and find entertainment online during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from app data and analytics website App Annie.5 

Here are a couple more indicators of the acceleration and virality of information. When you consider that as many people get their news from social media as get it from direct news sources now, and 57% of them get it from Facebook and YouTube6

  • U.S. audiences are now watching 2,351,949,456 YouTube videos a day, up 15% since the beginning of March.7 
  • Facebook daily active users (DAUs) were 1.79 billion on average for June 2020, an increase of 12% year-over-year.8 

Media Planning Can’t Stay Ahead of the Storm

The world is changing at warp speed now and this tectonic shift in the flow and mass of information, opinion and reaction is disrupting marketing calendars like never before. 

eMarketer reported in May that an Advertiser Perceptions survey of 151 U.S. agencies and brand marketers revealed they had cut the time for media planning in half from pre-pandemic levels for all types of media, aggregated. 

Six months later, many planners have reduced that planning time to a few days or less. And we see traditional upfronts continuing to lose value because COVID-19 has shown us how quickly and completely the marketing calendar can be upended.


It’s Not Just About Threats—It’s About Opportunities…At Speed

Potentially significant events now arise several times a day. We’re familiar with the threats some of these events can pose to brand image. But equally important are the opportunities—for aligning more closely with audiences and increasing their brand loyalty as they move toward or away from news and events.

Responding proactively to significant events in market requires speed because the window for response often closes very quickly—within a day or two in many cases. Responding appropriately requires a way to “humanize” a brand and gain a comprehensive understanding of how it thinks and feels in those moments.

Our research, informed by discussions with customers and industry partners, has led us to develop a solution that is opportunistic for all parties—advertisers & marketers, agencies and publishers alike. It encompasses brand safety and suitability under the umbrella of a brand’s unique worldview and “human-like” mindset that aligns with its audiences. We call it Brand Mentality. 

We’re currently sharing details and gathering additional insights through a series of small virtual seminars. To learn more, please use this form to request an upcoming session:

isolated brain network sightly red


  1. Biggest Challenge for CMOs? Understanding Consumer Behavior Changes
  2. 66% of Americans Check Phone 160 Times a Day, Here’s How Your Business Can Benefit
  3. Global Online Content Consumption Doubles in 2020, Research Shows
  4. Twitter Poised for Take Off as Users Grow, Ads to Boom
  5. Mobile app usage surged 25% in Q3 as coronavirus keeps people home
  6. 5 global news consumption trends in charts
  7. SocialBlade YouTube Stats
  8. Facebook Reports Second Quarter 2020 Results’20-FB-Financial-Results-Press-Release.pdf

A Q&A with Rachael Galperin, Director of Media Strategy


A Q&A with Rachael Galperin, Director of Media Strategy

March 20, 2019

The proliferation of channels, devices, formats and platforms have made reaching the right consumers with the right messages at the right time increasingly complex for today’s video advertisers.

Which is why it’s more important than ever to have an informed media strategy (and strategist) behind every campaign.

What’s the difference between a campaign that succeeds and one that falls flat? The answer is more nuanced than you might think. We asked Rachael Galperin, the director of media strategy here at Sightly, to share her expertise in the below Q&A.

Tell us about your role at Sightly.

My team works to come up with the strategic media approach that will help most clients achieve the desired outcome or outcomes of a specific campaign. In other words, determining which relevant messages will resonate best with the ideal consumers.

For example, we were working with one client that wanted to drive people in-store in order to learn more about a specific product offering. In order to achieve this outcome we’d need a strategic combination of different ad formats and campaign optimization features to work in tandem. We layered different contextual filters like people viewing sporting events vs. people viewing makeup tutorials with factors like search behavior and location. This allowed us to pinpoint consumers with relevant interests and in specific locations who were most likely to be interested in the client’s product offering. Once we found those customers, we were able to deliver messages that encouraged viewers to go in-store to learn more.

Additionally, my team also works on the analytical side, which means after the campaign has run, we look at the data to tell the story of our successes. To use the above example, we focus on where we drove the most in-store visits and what resonated best with the consumers to drive them to take action.

There are so many ways to segment audiences. Where do you start and have you found a specific attribute that tends to be especially effective in reaching a desired group of consumers?

I think being able to create strategies for clients that are looking for knowledgable partners to help guide and teach them in the video space allows us to utilize approaches that really showcase our true capabilities. A major point of differentiation for Sightly is that we’re able to target the people who are most likely to take interest in, and action on, an advertiser’s message at any given time with extreme precision. We are able to do this through our custom audience personas using Google’s first-party data segments that layers targeting information such as location, behavior, contextual targeting, search keywords and more, to reach an advertiser’s audience with the most relevant messages at the right times.

One of the more interesting things to me about Sightly upon joining was its location-based approach to segmenting and targeting. Drilling down into address and zip code variables really increases the relevancy of a message. Of course, this is most applicable for advertisers with a brick-and-mortar presence, but I think that as the number of ways we can slice and dice data for targeting multiplies, accurate location-based targeting will become increasingly important.

You mentioned the ability to create audience personas using Google’s first-party data segments layered with search keywords. Can you tell us more about that?

Absolutely. Another key aspect of my role at Sightly is understanding the latest product innovations coming out of Google for their video advertisers; how to use these new tools; and how they will work best for each client on an individual level.

One of the latest products we’ve tested is Custom Intent, which allows advertisers to incorporate a Google search keyword list into YouTube to retarget those individuals with videos. For example, let’s focus on a person who is actively searching Google for specific ingredients. If our client is a CPG that produces one of those ingredients, we’re able to target that user with a high-degree of certainty that our ad will be relevant to them, in that moment.

Lastly, what’s a fun fact that your colleagues might not know about you?

I love movies and I’m regularly quoting them in the office. A favorite of mine is Billy Madison. “So sorry to interrupt!”

How to Optimize Your Super Bowl Campaign Spending


How to Optimize Your Super Bowl Campaign Spending

January 30, 2019

Meet Sightly’s Ryan Vaspra in this expert Q&A

Ryan Vaspra, Sightly’s SVP of media strategy and analytics.

With Super Bowl LIII fast approaching, we chatted with Ryan about how advertisers can get the most bang for their buck during one of the most-watched television events of the year.

Q: Planning and executing the right Super Bowl ad campaign can be overwhelming. Where do you usually start with clients?
A: Yes, there is certainly a lot of noise and competition for consumer attention around the Super Bowl. The challenge really comes down to helping clients hit the most relevant subset of their audience in the most cost-effective way. This starts with establishing a clear desired outcome or objective, and then focus on optimizing for the metrics that will get you there.

Q: What are some of the best pieces of advice you can give to advertisers when it comes to Super Bowl campaigns?
A: I can’t emphasize the importance of optimization enough. This is true for all campaigns, but becomes especially important when you’re looking at a timeline of four hours for an event like the Super Bowl. Advertisers must be able to quickly hone in on the most responsive user segments, and further optimize the campaign toward the desired outcome. Figure out what’s working during the first half of the game, and adjust the line items of their campaign based on that data for the second half of the game. Don’t worry about CPM, focus rather on cost per reach or cost per lifted viewer. 

Q: Can you share an example of a Super Bowl campaign you’ve worked on that you’re especially proud of?
A: I’ll share an example from the work we did with Frank’s Red Hot during last year’s Super Bowl. The objective of the campaign was to increase brand awareness and purchase intent among their consumer base. Using Sightly’s proprietary People Centered Targeting, we identified, targeted and reached five custom designed target personas, of which we found women aged 44-54 to be an extremely responsive user segment. 

Q: What’s your role here at Sightly beyond helping clients optimize their Super Bowl spend?
A: Super Bowl campaigns are just a small microcosm of the work our media strategy and analytics team does here at Sightly. We are proud data nerds and constantly looking for ways in which we can help our clients’ campaigns be more successful. Experimenting with different ad formats and user segments, we can always get more targeted and more precise in our segmenting and reach. It’s this challenge that excites the team on a daily basis.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite Super Bowl ad campaign?
A: From just a pure branding experience, I would say the Budweiser frogs campaign that was the 1990’s equivalent of a meme that goes viral today. Everyone of all ages was speaking and acting like frogs for a few weeks. Back then, creating a workplace buzz was performance branding, today you’ve got to know which workplaces buzzed, what those people like and shop for and take them on your brands customer journey.


Want to learn more about exciting work Ryan is doing every day?

Feel free to drop us a line!