Recap of the Ashleigh Axios presentation in Akron

The Office of Digital Strategy was created by Barack Obama in 2008 to establish a digital identity not only for the White House as an institution, but for the President and his policies as well. Starting with a staff of twenty people, the team was focused on the simple design and clear communication of all information emanating from the White House.

The mission was to connect people to government resources in a clear and effective way using a two-way approach. Ashleigh Axios, former creative director and digital strategist, said the department used all of the popular digital platforms to expand the President’s message while interactively engaging American citizens at the same time.

Her best example of this strategy was a livestream State of the Union address that was accompanied by over 200 “enhanced screen” fact sheets synced to the President’s speech. Users could view with these particular details (charts, graphs, illustrations) while watching the President’s speech in real time.

During the presentation, Axios outlined fifteen main points of their strategy such as narrowing the target audience (depending on which policy was being promoted) as much as possible; setting goals that stretch you beyond what you think you can achieve; viewing each online platform as having a distinct purpose; creating a space for dialogue; and toning down the brand while focusing on the issues, not just the logos.

The Office of Digital Strategy has since closed down after President Obama left the White House, but the site is archived here at

Axios now works for Automattic, a company whose mission is to “democratize publishing and make the web a better place”. The “matt” in Automattic is online social media entrepreneur and web developer, Matt Mullenweg, who is also the co-founder of WordPress.

Thanks to AAF-Akron and HKM for inviting us down for this event.

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