Creative Director at Aarki
“Don’t doubt yourself and don’t overthink too much! Know that self-doubt and fear are creativity killers. If you want to learn something new, do it.”
Mikaela Bataller is a Creative Director at Aarki with 6+ years of experience. Based in Manila, Philippines, she is responsible for producing strategic, data-driven creatives that help drive campaign performance. Among her key strengths, she highlights are empowerment, communication, empathy, and continuous self-improvement. Mikaela started her path at Aarki as Junior Art Director. Thanks to her unwavering dedication, and her belief that challenges and mistakes can be a great source of inspiration, she has carved out a place as a leader with strong values.
We asked her about her experiences that have shaped her both as a leader and as a person.
Q: What values are most important to you as a leader?
The leadership values I hold important are empowerment, communication, empathy, humility, respect, patience, and continuous self-improvement and reflection. I know it is a lot, but throughout my stay here at Aarki and as someone who started as a Jr. Art Director, these are the values I’ve learned as I have grown and gained more experience. These values help me understand other people and learn more about myself.
When I first became a manager, I faced many challenges. I am not a perfect leader and I know I’ve made many mistakes, but facing challenges and admitting my mistakes helps me learn and grow as a leader with values. Working with a team of talented people helps to keep me inspired to continue to try being a better person.
Q: What's one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Don’t doubt yourself and don’t overthink too much! Know that self-doubt and fear are creativity killers. If you want to learn something new, do it. It’s okay to start learning something rather than nothing at all.
Q: What is your top tip when it comes to mobile ad creative?
Over the years working at Aarki, we have been determined to perfect the art of mobile ad creative. And with Aarki’s technology and capabilities, we’ve been able to produce strategic, data-driven creatives that help drive campaign performance. These are my top tips:
- Make your ad relevant because it won’t get anywhere if your target audience does not relate to it.
- Maximize every pixel to ensure your audience fully invests in the story you’re showing.
- When it comes to messaging, make sure it is compelling, concise and clear.
- Test, test, test. To have data-driven creatives, it is important to test everything - CTA, colors, copies, strategies, etc. With the learnings you get from testing, you will have the best performance possible.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge for women in our industry and how do we overcome it?
Prejudice against women due to gender perception, and underestimating their skills. We must continuously empower women to pursue their dreams and be more confident. It also helps to have a woman mentor in the office. At Aarki, it really helped me a lot that there are more women managers. I am glad to have people to look up to and a positive support system.
“Having diversity, whether its gender, age, and ethnicity, leads to greater growth and success. Diversity enables companies to be more innovative.”
Q: Why do you think diversity is important in industry?
Having diversity, whether its gender, age, and ethnicity, leads to greater growth and success. Diversity enables companies to be more innovative. Having a team from different backgrounds with different skills and experiences will generate creativity and drive innovation.
Q: What's your ideal weekend?
My ideal weekend is just staying at home and relaxing, turning off my mind from work, only leaving the house to go to the supermarket and buy groceries!
Q: What is your favorite family holiday tradition?
We don’t have an established holiday tradition. As much as possible we want to go out of town or out of the country. Recently, my mom has initiated an end of year, open discussion with just the family. We take turns to discuss the major things that happened in our lives over the year and our personal plans for the year ahead. It is fun and helps us to be more open with each other!
Q: If you could have an extra hour of free time every day, how would you use it?
This is a hard question to answer. To be honest, ever since the pandemic started, it has been hard for me to balance work and free hours. If I have more free time, I would probably just do more work.
Q: What’s the one book everyone should read?
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. I love how funny and freely written it is. It connects with you on an atypical level and offers superb advice that helps improve yourself and hopefully others around you. These are my favorite quotes from the book:
- Not giving a f*ck does not mean being indifferent, it means being comfortable with being different
- People who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great - they are mediocre, they are average - and that they could be so much better.
- If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it, just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head.
Q: What is your personal mantra in life?
“All is well.” This is a well-known phrase that I’ve learned from the famous Indian film Three Idiots. I always think about this phrase whenever I’m feeling nervous or anxious. This helps me remind myself that nothing is bad or fearful unless we make it so. It gives me an immediate sense of relaxation in my heart and mind that helps me cope with the hard times bravely.