The release of our new FORMAT catalog is coming soon. And there is always a lot of work behind it. Our colleague Thanusha Pajdzik works as a project manager and lets us share her work on the catalog in this interview. What does the work of the International Data and Catalog Projects team look like, why is the catalog so important to us, and what is the process behind it? Thanusha answers all these questions and more in our “Ask the Professional!” interview series.
Hi Thanusha, let’s start with a brief introduction of yourself!
I’m Thanusha Pajdzik, I’m 35 years old and I’ve been working at EDE International as a project manager since 2013. This is the unit of E/D/E GmbH that deals with the international clientele and there I work in the International Data and Catalog Projects team.
How can we imagine the tasks of the International Data and Catalog Projects team?
First of all, my job as a project manager is quite classic: I lead the project team and am responsible for ensuring that all employees work hand in hand with each other. I’m the one who pulls all the strings and I’m in charge of communicating with all stakeholders, including all external service providers. I am responsible for all communication as well as project planning and project review.
The Data and Catalog Projects team can be divided into three areas: Content Management (three employees), Data Management (three employees), and Translation Management (two employees). Catalogs continue to be an important tool in the industry – therefore the digital marketing area has now been newly implemented and is currently managed by two employees.
What was your personal career at E/D/E like and how long have you been in charge of catalog projects?
When I started at E/D/E in 2013, I initially worked as a data manager for the German market. Then, starting in 2017, I was in charge of data management for international data and catalog projects. Since 2022, I have been in my current role as project manager for international data and catalog projects.
In recent months, the major project surrounding the new FORMAT catalog has been the most important topic. Why is this project so important within E/D/E, but also for the industry and E/D/E members?
The FORMAT catalog is the largest catalog project at EDE International: it is published in eight languages. And although digitization is advancing all the time, depending on the country, our customers still attach a great deal of importance to the catalog in printed form. By the way, a lot of effort and expense goes into the FORMAT catalog because we have very heterogeneous requirements depending on the country.
What planning process and what effort are behind the FORMAT catalog?
It takes a year from the start of project planning to delivery – in the case of the current edition, from July 1, ’22 to July 1, ’23. Due to the multilingual nature of the catalog, the focus is on the translation process and on proofreading. This also has a major impact on the work of the media designers who create the content of the catalog. Because different languages require different amounts of space in a page design. Which poses a major challenge. At the very end of the translation and design process, we put the entire content of the catalog through its paces.
Another important aspect of the design process is that it is possible to customize the catalogs: Our members have the opportunity to customize their catalogs in terms of cover and lead pages. Although this naturally involves a great deal of effort, it is a great moment when our members finally hold the finished catalog with their own covers in their hands and we receive positive feedback from them. The effort is worth it just for this nice feedback. After all, satisfied members are the most important thing for us at the end of the day.
How often is a new FORMAT catalog published?
The FORMAT catalog is published every two years.
In how many different languages is the catalog published? Does the international market have different requirements for the catalog than the German market?
The catalog is published in Spanish, French, Dutch, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, English and German, i.e. in eight languages. The international market means that the international catalogs are accompanied by our new FOR YOU brand campaign, which was launched by our Digital Marketing Manager. This is expressed within the catalog work, in particular in the lead-in, within which QR codes are now also printed that direct you to our new brand website www.formattools.eu.
I think the campaign is great because it shows very well what a wide range of users FORMAT has. This heterogeneity is also always reflected in the catalogs in different languages. In addition, we shot new special pages (full-screen pages) directly on the shooting days for the image film and included them in the catalog.
How long has the FORMAT catalog been around?
It has been around for over 20 years.
What challenges are there in a catalog project of such a size?
Ensuring that communication between around 100 participating retailers, the catalog team, around ten service providers and over 20 other colleagues working in our company always runs smoothly.
What I particularly appreciate about our international team is the diversity of our colleagues. Each individual naturally brings his or her own culture and mentality to the work, and I’m always pleasantly surprised to get to know so many different personalities. For me personally, this is an enrichment that I value very much.
How high is the circulation of the FORMAT catalog in the international market and how has it developed?
Overall, of course, the entire demand for print publications is declining across all industries. With regard to the FORMAT catalog, demand is very much dependent on the different customer groups in the individual countries. While demand in some countries continues unabated, in others the need for more digital media is also increasing.
Nevertheless, the FORMAT catalog continues to enjoy great popularity and relevance within the industry. However, to meet the demands of the market, new and different media are now being used as part of digital marketing. This transformation complements the catalog in a meaningful way and we are positioning ourselves for the future as a result.
Are there any innovations in the FORMAT catalog that you were pleased about?
Especially the digital marketing, as just explained. The lead goes with the times and this time we are integrating QR codes in all languages, which then redirect to the right language version of our website. In this way, we are linking the print form with the digital. And, of course, the special pages already mentioned.
What do you like best about working on the FORMAT catalog?
What I like best is that I work with so many different interfaces.