Did you ever see the first television commercial? It aired in July 1941, when Bulova Watch Company spent a wallet-busting $9.00 for 10 seconds of airtime during a Brooklyn Dodgers – Philadelphia Phillies game.

More than 70 years later, marketing with video has come a long way; it’s moved beyond television screens to your desktops, smartphones, tablets and more. Brands are using video for website content, online advertisements, YouTube and Vimeo-hosted segments for information-rich how-tos and for sharing corporate news, and a number of other reasons. Companies have figured out that video is an extremely effective tool for creating a recognizable brand identity that people talk about.

Ahead of Thursday’s “February Roundtable: Using Video to Build Brand Identity,” hosted by Overit for NY Capital Region Chapter of the American Marketing Association, we sat down with Lawrence Basso, motion design director, for a chat about online video, trends on the horizon and what goes into producing great video.

What does video allow you to achieve in your marketing effort that other tactics such as billboard ads, print images and text cannot?

When you capture a story on video, you have a remarkable ability to exhibit your brand’s personality. Through the scenes you capture on camera paired with memorable audio, you have the chance to appeal to your audience not just because of the service or product you sell, but because of the stories you tell.

Sometimes, you see a company opt to get a local actor or actress to shoot a commercial talking about the company, as if they’re one of the employees – and you just know the “expert” has never fixed a flat tire or sold an RV or done anything in relation to whatever service or product being promoted on television is.

It’s extremely important you be smart about who you’re choosing to represent your company. Done well, a video goes a long way in sharing your brand’s personality and culture, but the spokesperson must come off as sincere. One thing we like to discuss with new clients is the option of character development, which provides companies with no natural or strong public spokesperson a public representative they can create for their commercial needs.

What things do you need to know before you start?

Before you can determine what kind of video marketing materials you want to make, you have to determine your goals. What you want to show? What you want to hear? What emotions you want people to feel? If you have a spokesperson, what are they representing – your quality customer service, your product, your work environment? Are your videos for entertainment purposes? Should they be educational? How does this help my business?

Make sure you know what your business goals are and what you intend to have your videos achieve, whether it’s sell a product, break into new markets or otherwise.

Talk a little about the components that go into video marketing, especially at the beginning.

Whether you are looking at low-budget or high-budget productions, you are going to be introducing yourself to new technology. You, or the agency you work with, will have to consider everything you need to create your video marketing pieces. Obviously, cameras, lighting and microphones, but also video recording and editing software.

When you start looking at higher-budgeted concepts, such as ones involving animation, these require bigger, more highly-skilled teams, longer times to develop and much more creative planning. If you want to go down the path of creating a brand character to act as your spokesperson, it’s often best to work with an outside agency’s members, who might have a different perspective on the characters an in-house team drenched in company goals might develop.

A lot of budget decisions get made when you figure out what kind of image you are going for. If you want it to be super high-end, slick and glamorous, it’s going to be more expensive. If a lower-budget “Mom & Pop” image that looks lower in quality but comes across more sincere is right for you, the added expense isn’t necessary.

What trends do you see emerging with regard to video marketing? What are we getting away from?

I see a lot of companies creating content for video blogs now. The same “behind the scenes” and “how-to” features you’d find on a company’s DVD are now being posted on the web and shared multiple times through social media channels. A lot of companies are posting how or why they did things the way they did.

As well, the pieces are becoming much more entertaining. Rather than 30 seconds of selling products (“Buy this! Buy this!”), we’re creating videos that are much more emotionally engaging. People’s time has always been valuable, but in a world where attention spans are shortening, 30 seconds is a lot of time. Emotionally engaging the audience has become extremely important to get people to connect with the brand, watch the video through its end and remember the brand afterward.

What advice do you have to give companies looking at pursuing video marketing efforts for the first time?

Pay attention to what the competition is doing, be inspired by them, but don’t copy them. Do something that will work for your business – not just something that has worked for another business.

To learn more about building your brand identity with video, attend the NY Capital Region Chapter of the American Marketing Association’s roundtable event Thursday, February 28, from 7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at Overit. The event will feature talks from Clarkson University’s external relations expert Mike DaGroffa and Catseye Pest Control’s vice president David Miclette about how they have effectively used video to market their businesses.

Register today!