connections chapter news

March 2017
Vol. 16, Number 2

Management News
Conference News
Chapter News
Committee News
SIG News
Member News

Remember to check out the QRCA calendar of events
for upcoming Chapter events

International Chapter to Explore Semiotics for Optimizing Advertising Messages

Ilka Kuhagen,

The next International Chapter meeting is March 28, 6:00 pm CET/12 noon EST.
The real-time webinar and discussion features Charlotte Hager. Her topic: “Brand Messages: What do Consumers Actually Perceive? - Semiotics as a Tool to Optimize Advertising Messages.”

The presentation is a mix of semiotics, codes, messages and neuroscience basics and illustrates the importance of having every sign in the language of advertising (color, facial expression, clothing, shoes, etc.) possess a specific purpose that conveys the intended message and brand/product values. 

She will also give a short introduction regarding how the human brain works, to enable a better understanding of the semiotic approach. 

Charlotte is the founder of comrecon brand navigation, which focuses on customer behavior, customer experience and the science of signs. Founded in 2008, comrecon is a qualitative research and consultancy in Baden, Austria. Prior to founding comrecon, Charlotte was an account manager at an international media agency and an international media observer.


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Announcing New Leadership in the International Chapter

Ilka Kuhagen,

The International Chapter met in Los Angeles at the conference and agreed on two new co-chairs for the chapter — Hana Kloučková from Prague and Nadja Mueller from Zurich will now lead the International Chapter.

The new team representing the different areas, organizing the meetings, and connecting international members of QRCA is:

Hana Kloučková from Prague, CZ: Co-Chair
Nadja Mueller from Zurich, CH: Co-Chair
Ilka Kuhagen from Munich, DE: Co-Chair
Yves Keromnes from Paris, FR: Europe/Africa
Layla Shea from Vancouver, CA: Canada/North America
Astrid Velasquez, Mexico, MX: Latin America
Karin Curran, New Zealand: Australia/Asia

International Chapter
From left to right: Dorrie Paynter, Isabel Aneyba, Yves Keromnes, Livia Gervasoni, Nadja Müller, Ilka Kuhagen, Hana Kloučková, Petra Viskova

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OHINKY Chapter Turns out in Force for Annual Conference

Sharon Laukhuff,

Nine members of the OHINKY Chapter gathered for a meeting during the Annual Conference in Los Angeles. Meeting topics included a look back on the meetings held in the past program year and a brainstorming session to identify potential meeting topics for the coming year. In addition, a date and time were chosen for annual post-conference meeting, where those lucky enough to attend the conference share their learnings with those who could not attend. It was decided to hold that meeting virtually, for the convenience of all.

OHINKY Chapter
Members also gathered for this group photo, generously shot by Monica Zinchiak, who happened to be nearby and willing. From left to right: Chapter chair Sharon Laukhuff, Kendall Nash, Laurie Bredenfoerder, Chapter Vice Chair Bruce Ferguson, Kyle Hodgkins, Jim Berling, Foster Winter, Jennifer Blomer, and Chelle Precht.

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Southeast Chapter Members Share Conference Takeaways and 2017 Trends

Grace Bottcher,

A major draw to the annual QRCA Conference is the ability to network with other like-minded quallies. It gives us new ideas, peace of mind, and comfort knowing we have support from those near and far. Southeast Chapter member Rebecca Bryant emphasized what many of us thought, saying, “For me, the biggest takeaway from the conference is a total confirmation of the tremendous network of peers QRCA provides.” Southeast member and chair of the 2017 Annual Conference Kate Wagenlander Watson added, “Giant Jenga is always a good time!”

The first Southeast Chapter meeting of 2017, held in Los Angeles at the conference, was a great example of how the organization can bring members together to discuss movements in our industry. Because we could not all attend each breakout session, we came together to brainstorm some of the trends we heard for 2017 from speakers across the three days. Many thanks to the following chapter members and others who contributed thoughts:

  • Colleen Welsh-Allen
  • Joy Steinberg
  • Grace Bottcher
  • Jonathan Schneider
  • Laurie Butler
  • Kate Wagenlander Watson


  • Focus on simplicity, frequency, and repetition to stay on the pulse of reality.


  • Difficult recruits require us to personally explore creative outlets.
  • A recruiting partner who goes above and beyond is valued.


  • How we ask questions, and in what order, affects responses.
  • Asking leading questions is still a major concern for clients.
  • How well are we listening and interpreting respondent opinions?
    • The opposite of listening isn’t talking, it’s waiting.
    • Not speaking — and long pauses — are also part of the answer.
    • Everyone has a story to tell; sometimes our role is to simply practice the exercise of listening.
    • Listen through different lenses and put ourselves in others’ shoes.
    • Don’t be so focused on answering your question that you miss what you find and learn. Challenge yourself and clients to look at different things, rather than simply looking for answers.
    • Memory can be misleading.


  • Reports are getting more visual, strategic, and story-lined.
  • Videos are becoming commonplace.
    • Audio may still allow greater honesty as consumers don’t have to create an “image” for the camera.


  • Video editing and housing platforms are trending.
  • Cyber security is of major concern for both clients and moderators.
  • Innovation is here to stay, but utilizing it correctly is key.
    • Neuroscience techniques are still new and evolving. The subconscious alone is not the sole technique for a complete image.

Southwest Chapter
From Left to Right: Joy Steinberg (NC), Randi Stillman (GA, 2011-2016 chapter co-chair), Rebecca Bryant (TN), Grace Bottcher (AL), Kate Wagenlander Watson (AL), Colleen Welsh-Allen (NC), Laurie Butler (GA, 2016-2017 chapter co-chair)

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