Former Sony Music Argentina Exec Mariela Croci Launches The Sello Marketing Agency: ‘Empathy is Essential’

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After spending 21 years as the head of Sony Music Argentina's marketing department, Mariela Croci launched her own marketing agency specializing in the development and guidance of artists.

"Without vision, will-power has no guidance, but without desire, it has no energy," The Sello founder shared to Billboard Argentina.

"This is a time where many artists are confused by the new behavior of fans and the new ways of consumption," she explained.

For Croci, The Sello is a factory of creative ideas that set positioning strategies and commercialize artists: "We take the artist's dreams, and we try to fulfill it. I feel that my personal seal within the company [Sony] was always that one, and that's what I offer in The Sello."

"I never stopped a minute, not to rest nor anything," she shared.

Leaving Sony to pursue entrepreneurship was not an easy decision for Croci. "It was like a divorce: You think it over and over and start rationalizing until you make the decision," she said. "I realized that the most I could give an artist was reaching out, empathy and having a one on one. To be able to accomplish that, I thought that launching my own agency would be the best option, and I'm really enjoying it."

"Content is the most important currency, that's why artists are the companies' capital," she explained.

Since The Sello was launched, artists like Reik, Carlos Rivera, Santiago Cruz, Juan Ingaramo, Joystick, Camila and Rombai, and others, have decided to work with her. "The first people who came to me were the artists and managers with whom I've worked with throughout all these years," she said. "They came to me because of my experience in the business and my strategic and creative vision."

What are your first steps to working with an artist?

To plan out a strategy faithful to the artist's dream, you first have to ask the artist what he or she wants. It seems simple, but in most cases, no one asks them that. In the development of a career, sometimes anxiety wins over long-term thinking. That's why empathy is essential in decoding the artist's dreams and desires, where he wants to go and build a plan accordingly.

Did you find a common pattern, or is each case different?

Each case is different, and that's what's fun about it, building or tearing down to reassemble, seeing the artist grow and evolve. Every artist is a different world, and we have to be able to connect with that in order to pursue their desire. Our vision goes beyond immediate success. Anxiety must be beaten if an artist wants to build a long-term career. And that’s what we do: We set strategies to achieve a long-term career.

What are your thoughts on record companies nowadays?

My biggest reference, for obvious reasons, is Sony Music. They always knew how to get ahead of what would happen in the industry, and take action before. Damián Amato (President of Sony Music Argentina) knows how to reformulate himself, he is a proactive person and always in constant movement.

Today, record companies must prove to the artists that they're the best option amongst other labels or going independent. To achieve that, having empathy is the most important quality. I think the challenge is to show the artists that they can trust you with their career. Although, I also think that, deep down, every independent artist wants to sign with a big company.