5 minutes with Damian Horner

5 minutes with Damian Horner

dh-hachetteDamian Horner is Brand Development Director at Hachette.

Damian began his career in advertising, working for some of the world’s biggest agencies before joining a breakaway team and becoming a partner in his own. That agency went on to become a creative hot-shop winning clients as diverse as Honda, Coca-Cola, Start-rite, Cartoon Network, Penguin, Unilever and Sony. Damian himself won multiple awards. He was included in Campaign magazine’s ‘A List of The 100 Most Influential People in Media’ and even had one of his campaigns exhibited at Tate Modern.

The agency was sold to global media network and Damian moved to Spain with his young family where he worked as a brand consultant for international clients that included Microsoft, Sage Hotel Group, Random House and the European Union.

In 2014, Damian returned to the UK and joined Hachette as Brand Development Director. He works in the space ‘beyond the book’ – finding new ways of bringing readers and content together. It is a role that touches everything from personalised content, to gaming, to serialised online delivery, to VR.

What’s next on your reading list?
A manuscript called Together by Julie Cohen. It is being published by Orion later this year and everyone is buzzing about it. Lots of excitement.

Tell us what you do in 20 words or fewer.
My job at Hachette is to go beyond the book and find new ways of connecting readers with writers. To this end I like to think of us as ‘Storytellers’ rather than book publishers as this liberates us from the confines of the binding of a book.

What is the single biggest challenge facing the publishing industry right now?
The fact that most people in the industry have only ever worked in the industry.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in publishing today?
Of course you should love the industry (and there are many reasons why you should) but you should also make it your mission to change the industry so that it can embrace the future.

Does the publishing industry understand technology?
The publishing industry reacts to technology when it is forced to.

What was your first job?
My first job as a kid was being a milkman but in the world of ‘grown up work’ it was as an Account Manager at WCRS which is a big advertising agency.

And your first in the book industry?
My advertising agency won the Penguin advertising account and we created a string of award-winning campaigns for them.

What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?
Two Nerf guns.

Tell us about a passionate interest you have outside the business.
Classic cars and old wooden boats.

What is your prediction for the year ahead in the publishing industry?
Video will finally get onto people’s radars and there will be a chaotic rush to fling content at YouTube in the hope that something sticks.

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