Babak Zafarnia is the President of Praecere Public Relations. During uncertain economic times, Babak decided to take control of his destiny and start his own PR firm. He talks about why he feels a brandable name is import in his industry and the importance of SEO in promoting his company.
Mike: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.
Babak: Thanks Mike for the opportunity to offer comment, you have a great website. I’ve worked in global media, national politics, and law for over a decade, and decided to pull my skills together and start a PR firm. With the economy still shaky, and the media industry in a near daily cycle of ditching tradition and adopting new trends, I calculated that now is as good a time as any to go out on my own.
Our firm, Praecere Public Relations, offers highly specialized PR services such as thought leadership, public affairs campaigns, and crisis management, which are rarely found in a boutique PR firm. Our experience, agility, and creativity allow us to compete strongly against much bigger PR shops.
Mike: Can you tell me what praecere.com means or represents?
Babak: I love getting this question! “Praecere” is rooted in the Latin word “præsens” which translates into “face to face” and “being there” – and where English gets the word “present” from, as in being available. Our firm is all about smart communication, so our name pays homage to Latin as the basis of our language, principals-only counsel, and making our clients present in any media dialogue.
Also, from a logo design standpoint, “Praecere” has two great advantages. First, the word starts with the letters “P” and “R” – a nice tip of the hat to our industry. Second, the Latin “Æ” character offers amazing visual potential, and signals strength and reliability.
Mike: Have you received any feedback on the name from peers or customers?
Babak: The feedback has been 100% positive and supportive, from peers, clients, non-PR types, even competitors. People love the thinking that went into the process, and constantly remark that a firm that develops such a creative brand no doubt brings the same level of care in representing clients.
Mike: Why did you decide to chose a brandable domain name over a generic or keyword domain?
Babak: Simple – in our industry, many PR firms have generic names like “Acme Solutions Group” or “Political Communications Solutions” or something otherwise similar. When a potential client sees such names, sometimes they have no idea what type of consulting the firm provides. In other words, how do you tell the difference between such firms – how do they convey distinction? With so much competition in PR already, I had to distinguish our firm right out the gate. That’s what so great about the name “Praecere” – it goes beyond industry stereotypes, and speaks more to our elemental drive to achieve for our clients.
Mike: Is this your only domain name or do you owns others?
Babak: For now, praecere.com and blogaesthetic.com for our blog are the only brandable domain names we have. We think in most cases that it’s a bit gimmicky to harvest domains that reroute to your website. We don’t offer our clients gimmicks – we offer them strategy. Besides, our site is SEO’d to the hilt, and we’re confident that the right people will always find us.
Mike: Are you willing to share your visitation statistics so far?
Babak: While we have analytics, we don’t believe raw site traffic is a valuable metric for our PR firm. We mostly monitor keywords searches that lead to our site, and use that information to refine our marketing and pitching tactics. Even if your PR firm’s site gets a million hits a day, if you don’t have happy clients, then you’re out of business. That’s why our most important metrics are client conversion and satisfaction.
Mike: You mentioned SEO… What type of marketing are you doing to promote the site?
Babak: The site launched with an aggressive SEO tune-up from A Creative LLC and it’s worked quite well. We believe our blog, The Blog Aesthetic, is one of the best sites that covers public relations, and we use keywords, tags, and other under-the-hood tweaks in each article. Through blog SEO, we’ve cornered several niche issues in the PR industry, not to mention capitalizing on key trending topics that have PR components.
Mike: Do you have any advice for others looking to chose a brandable domain name for their business?
Babak: Yes – call us! Praecere specializes in branding, we have worked with clients such as boutique investment banks and federal government contractors to help develop brands that generate customer and client affinity. Of course, there’s certainly an art and science to the branding process for domains. Ideally, the shorter you can keep the name, the better – assuming someone’s not squatting on the relevant domain. I’ve heard that for the domain name, 8 to 10 characters or less is ideal. Second, a great brand can only come to life if you’ve done a thorough examination of your core business offerings, what distinguishes you from the competition, and your business ambitions. That feedback, combined with a branding firm’s market research, will help guide you to a brand to fit all your needs.