Creativity is the most powerful weapon in the world. When fostered in the right hands, creativity can be concentrated into pure brainpower. The incubation of which leads to iconic advertising, merchandising, brands, and most importantly: legacies. Juice Consulting is a total-service PR and marketing company based out of Austin, Texas, that formed in 2007 and has earned a reputation for creating all of the above. With specialties in “high-level PR, strategic marketing and branding concepts,” it would only make sense that they’ve self-produced a handsome legacy through the years. Juice Consulting celebrates ten years of hard work and earned success this year, offering a revitalized website, expanded services and an even bigger team, now offering creative direction, social media campaigns, web design and development, as well as branding, graphic design, and video production.
From Disneyland Paris to Queen B herself, Juice Consulting founder Heather Wagner Reed has established an impressive list of former employers. Pennsylvania by birth and Georgia by school, Reed’s passion first found her at University of Georgia’s radio station, WUOG.
Taking on five internships over the course of her college tenure, Reed proved her dedication to the game early on. Shortly after college, she found herself in a variety of ventures in public relations and marketing, including a position at a leading MBA program in The Netherlands, an internet start up called Soundartist, a role in international marketing at Universal Music Holland, then as a Senior Product Manager at Music World Entertainment.
“People who make it to that level work really hard in their career, and so it set a bar for me,” says Reed when discussing how her star-studded past has influenced her path. It was these very-real experiences that gave her the power to start a humble one-woman consultancy by the name of Juice Consulting. Strategy and personality has led the eccentric tastemaker to be able to live the balanced yet exciting life that she has wanted. After years of putting in the work, Juice grew into a statewide marketing force that has gathered an army of eager souls that consistently produce quality content.
The mantra “add vitality to your campaign” is the driving force behind every product from the company. Throwing a fresh and lively effect into a business is the company’s bread and butter. A finely-tuned strategy keeps the gears turning in every project, making sure that something is always happening.
One insider part of the strategy is the tastemaker stage, one that involves a message blast to influencers that help to create buzz. Creating hype is where the company truly excels, and this is just one of many ingredients that goes in their “secret sauce” that sets them apart from the rest. A highly-skilled and diversified team work from every corner of Texas to bring the best to the table. Highlighting the team’s personal expertise has allowed for Juice to internally complete campaigns and to offer a more wholesome service to clients.
The most recent acquisition, Ty Richards as the new Creative Director, has brought a lot to the table with expertise in social media, graphic design, and web development. Madison Snelling, Heather’s right hand in Austin and fellow UGA grad, is a hound dog when it comes to pitches. Long-standing staffers Dallas-based Account Manager Amber LaFrance and Houston-based Digital Content Manager Christine Pfeffer, along with new Account Coordinator Tyler Otsby, and PR Intern Eric Radford round out the team, all just as quirky and talented as the rest. What the company lacks in manpower is more than made up for when it comes to brainpower. Don’t believe me? Let’s ask the clients.
“Heather’s diverse career history plus her stellar networking skills and consistent successes added up to a no-brainer when it came to the PR for the Southern Cousins reunion.” – Nakia, singer-songwriter and recording artist
“Their work on behalf of Texas artists both established or on the verge is second to none and helps make the Texas music industry landscape stronger every day,” – Brendon Anthony, Director of the Texas Music Office, Office of the Governor
“In working with Juice Consulting as my marketing and publicity company, I have found Heather and her staff to be conscientious, hard-working, and tenacious.” – Gloria Gaynor, GRAMMY-winning artist (Known for hit single “I Will Survive”)
“Her team has helped us refine and push our message out to the world, saturated local media and securing us positioning in Forbes and the New York Times.” – Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder
And these are just a few of them. Clients from every type of service enlist Juice’s “conscientious, hard-working, and tenacious” approach. Currently, there are 85 companies, organizations, artists, and musicians listed on Juice’s website. Artists like former member of the iconic band the Go-Go’s, Kathy Valentine, and The Voice’s very own Nakia and Suzanna Choffel, as well as organizations like Black Fret and the Austin Music Foundation are all just a few on the roster. Praise for the company is rampant. Clearly, they have been doing something right if they have so many satisfied customers.
With a legendary lineup and a master at the helm, ten years is just the start for the company. Art is not confined to a paintbrush, but instead can be found wherever creativity flows and Juice Consulting created their own river full of innovation. With recent branches into graphic design, web development, social media, and other creative content, Juice has taken matters into their own hands. An expansion beyond the arts has brought the group into real estate, technology, health, education and luxury goods. Along with the exciting new clientele, a revamped website and logo highlights the company’s step in a new direction.
Reed is a born illuminator, and her legacy lies within that word. She, and her company, provides the light in which people can shine. Each individual works together to make it so that the best always comes out. This dedication and passion in illumination is what has funded the company’s motivation from the very start, and it will be what carries them all the way to the finish line.
A company for the people, Juice has their eye on working for the benefit of their community. Grassroot involvement with people and businesses that create positive change are all in Juice’s future sights. “One of my deep passions are non-profits and organizations that are helping others and making an impact. I ultimately want Juice to be a company seen for being a force for positive change,” says Reed. With an army of six by Reed’s side that can do damn near everything, there isn’t much that can hold Juice back.
I had the pleasure to speak with Juice Founder, Heather Wagner Reed. See what the illuminator had to say about Juice Consulting’s past, future and legacy below.
Before we delve in, tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What about college? How did you end up in Texas?
HWR: I’ve been in Texas now fifteen years by way of Houston, but I’ve been in Austin for going on ten years. I’m from Pennsylvania originally, so I’m a Northeasterner. I grew up in a small town called Hazelton, and it was a Polish family environment. I went to Catholic school. It was a really interesting and enriching neighborhood environment. All the kids I grew up with were Polish and, the next neighborhood over the kids were Italians, and the next over were Russians, etc. I moved to North Carolina when I was in high school, and then I went to the University of Georgia. I majored in Public Relations and minored in French. I started working at the college radio at the UGA’s radio station in Athens, WUOG-FM. That was what turned me on to the entertainment industry, and I’ve been working in that realm ever since.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Tell me about the early stages of Juice Consulting. What was the inspiration behind it all?
HWR: Most of my career I’ve been working for companies large and small, and I guess you could say I had been working for quite some time before I got the idea of starting my own business, but I was working for a record label/management company in Houston, Texas called Music World Entertainment. I was doing a lot of day-to-day management for a number of artists, with the biggest being Beyoncé and I also worked with her sister, Solange and a number of other artists on the roster. During that time, I got really, really inspired by the types of people that we were working with across the country. We worked with experts in their field and brought them into our projects whenever we needed them. I got very familiar with working with people who were independent contractors, and I just realized after a long time of working in the industry that that would be a nice move for me. So, when I started my company, Juice Consulting, the whole idea was for me to be primarily a consultant. It was a one-woman shop in Houston initially, but soon grew, and now ten years later we’ve got a team of six. I still work very personally with our clients, but I also have these other experts on the team that also get to contribute to what we do. There’s a lot to be said when you have talented people helping you.
How has your star-studded past influenced your work ethics and strategies?
HWR: I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the industry. When I worked with Universal Music, my job there was working with many established European artists. A lot of the musicians that I was working with had made it to the top of the ladder in Europe, or even Asia and other parts of the world, but even prior to that I’ve always had the luck of working with really stellar talent. People who make it to that level work really hard in their career, and so it set a bar for me. After my time abroad, Mathew Knowles, hired me to come work for his management company in Houston. I had always wanted to work with a major American artist, so it goes to show you that you put your dreams and desires out there and some things can really happen for you. It happened for me. I worked primarily with Beyoncé for five years, as well as many other artists on the label such as Solange, a Swedish girl group called Play, and even the legendary Chaka Khan. I also worked with a young artist named Mario, who had a number one single at the time. I got to travel to Japan with him, were fans chased him down the streets of Toyko in mobs. It was surreal. After working with these amazing artists, I learned that you can’t just expect to land at the top. Work ethic plays a huge and pivotal role in career success.
What was your vision starting out as a one-woman consulting agency?
HWR: Having my own company really gave me space in my life to create the lifestyle that I wanted. I can honestly say that when you’re an entrepreneur you write your own ticket. You work really hard, there’s no question about that, but I have two children now, and I value my time with my kids and doing what’s important to them. If my son has a soccer game in the afternoon, you can bet that I’m going to be there, but at the same time, that might mean that I wake up very early in the morning or stay up late at night to put in the work that I need to. I have flexibility with Juice. Another great thing is that I have people helping me, and without them, this wouldn’t be possible. I couldn’t be a one-woman business today and still achieve what Juice does on a daily basis. Ultimately, I envisioned what I wanted in my life, as far as flexibility, how I spend my time, and work/life balance, and that’s been the best outcome of having this company. It doesn’t mean that my life is easy. I’m always working on how to make sure that we’re doing the best job possible for our clients and delivering. We’re working hard, but I don’t have to sit at a desk all day long, I get to visit my clients and be with them a lot on site and at their events. I get to experience different projects all the time, and that’s super fun.
There are currently twelve services listed on your website, and I understand that five of those were just added. It’s crazy to see how much your team can do. How do you manage such a diverse group?
HWR: I will say that a good 80% of our business is media relations and PR. That’s still our main bread and butter. Also one of our core services has been working with creatives and helping them develop their careers, but as far as the new services that we’ve added, it’s basically bringing in expertise from the team. Ty Richards has made a huge impact on what we can offer because he’s rounding out our services with new offerings like graphic design, web development, and social media expertise. Those are things that I would usually subcontract out to other companies, but now I feel like we have that insight on our team and we can offer that because of his background. We have so much synergy and we really like each other’s style of work. The rest of the team is really focused on publicity, minus Christine in Houston who is also working on digital marketing for us. Madison is my right hand here in Austin, and she is doing incredible publicity work, and Amber is holding it down for us in Dallas. We’re also doing a lot in the media sponsorship world lately, as it’s been a big need from our clients.
Tell me about those new services that Juice has announced with the anniversary. Any one in particular that you’re excited about?
HWR: Yes! I would say social media. Even though that is the crux of how people communicate these days, my training is in traditional PR and that’s where I shine. I love getting people on the team who are coming in with brand new knowledge on the latest trends and how to reach your audience via the digital world. I’m really excited we can offer that service now. It’s more than just, “How do I maximize my social media platforms,” but also “How do I understand the science of social media.” There’s a lot to it.
Where did the slogan, “add vitality to your campaign” come from? How do you interpret that and translate it to your clients’ needs?
HWR: To me, it has always meant that we bring energy and vitality. We bring this outside of the box approach to the table. You might be humming along in your business, but bring us on board, and give us a chance to supplement your team, and we can make something really exciting happen together. We juice it up! Vitality is our secret sauce, and it’s what separates us. We offer passion, commitment, and personal attention to the point where we fully integrate with our client’s teams.
Can you give a little insight into a basic service that Juice offers? Let’s say a client comes in and they want to rebrand and make themselves more accessible. How would your team, in a general description, go about that?
HWR: That would be like a typical marketing venture for us. Things like a brand are fundamental to any marketing or PR campaign. If we have a client that wants to promote something and make it big and bombastic, the first thing that I do is look at their brand, website, logo, photos, and their messaging. If something doesn’t come across in the optimal way, then we prioritize working on these things first. That’s why offering all of these other services now makes sense, because as a PR person I can’t do my job if we don’t have something killer to present to the public, in an overall package. The first two weeks that we work together are all strategy, and now we can internally provide a majority of services rather than outsourcing. We look at long term goals and work backward with a plan. Every week we have some sort of action, whether it be preparing basic messaging, media training, content writing, or strategic planning. We work hard to ensure success when it comes to communication with the public. We work very closely with the client to plan it all, and then we hit go and leave no stone unturned when it comes time to put it all in action. Instead of solely traditional media relations, we also get news into someone’s inbox very quickly with our email blasts, where we can get to thousands of people all at once. Tastemakers, who are people that you want to hear your news, are all at the touch of a button for us, and we utilize that to our client’s advantage. People tell me all the time just how effective that is when it comes to getting the word out there. We continue the campaign until the impact date, which is the date where it actually happens, and that’s when you want everything to hit and culminate around that one date. We also work on high level strategic opportunities for our clients. That’s kind of our approach in a nutshell.
Ten years is a magnificent milestone for any company. Given Juice’s great success, I can assume that you’ve only scratched the surface. What’s next for Juice and Heather?
HWR: I want to play a bigger role in our community. I want to be a voice in this community and do good for others here, whether that means doing more work in the non-profit sector or we’re helping more leaders for positive change get their voice heard. We want to delve into other aspects of what makes Austin special. Music is a no-brainer and is something that we’ve done for a long time and will continue to do, but things that are happening here that are really exciting are the tech and innovation industries, real estate, and the visual arts are blowing up more than ever here in Austin. We want to be involved with projects like that. The bottom line is that we want to work with things and people that we believe in.
Where do you see Juice in another ten years? What about yourself?
HWR: On a boat in the Riviera! Who doesn’t right? In all seriousness,in the future, I may want to be able to get more into politics. I definitely have strong feelings about our country’s future, and that of our local community. I feel like one of the ways that we can help contribute to that is to stand up for individuals and leaders who are going to make a difference. One of my passions is working with individuals or organizations that are helping others. I want to create positive change.
Creating legacies is a piece of what Juice really does. With that in mind, what kind of legacy do you want yourself and Juice Consulting to be remembered for?
WHR: I think I see things in people that they may not see in themselves. I think that is my gift. It’s partly based on intuition – a type of gut feeling. In our client work, I want to use this skill to deeply understand others and then help shine a light on them and their message. The word that comes to mind is illumination. Whatever it is they want to say. And share what makes them unique or special. Help THEM ultimately shine. That makes me feel really good. I want to give back and spend time doing things that makes my heart feel full. I want to work on projects that we deeply care about. Things we would work on, even if we didn’t have to work. Because we love it. And believe in it. That is the legacy I hope Juice Consulting will leave.
Written by: Sawyer Click
Photo Credit: Dustin Meyer