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6 tips for success from Obama's creative director

Neil Bennett | May 2, 2016
Until two weeks ago Ashleigh Axios was the creative director at the White House. It's a job that spans the online presence of the historic building, its position as an institution and of President Obama.

This can lead to a kind of groupthink where everyone's getting input from the same sources (whether from their choice of media and experiences or the people around them), which can stymie innovation.

"We're the first administration to take interns from the opposing party," says Ashleigh. "We don't give them the keys to our social media accounts and let them post whatever they want," she laughs, but she says it's important that the staff represent all of the American people.

"Be authentic"

If you or your clients are too precious about your/their brands, you can lose the humanity that makes them appealing in the first place. Having fun with a brand can challenge preconceptions around it, and present a more 'true'-feeling image - even if the brand is engaged in a very serious business.

"If we can let the President and First Lady make fun of themselves, you can embrace that in your [or your clients'] business. It's about being authentic," says Ashleigh.

"Mistakes will happen"

Ashleigh says that there's nothing you can do to completely avoid mistakes, and says you shouldn't let the fear of them stop you from trying new things. Balancing taking risks with the ability to recognise quickly when something's working or not - and quickly adapting for that - lets you innovate quickly.

"Don't make fun of the President's ears"

"The worst thing you can do is make a joke about the President's ears," says Ashleigh. "Don't do it"


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