Sonic Branding

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Sonic Branding


MassiveMusic presents: the sonic branding of KLM. 

KLM is a Dutch airline and is in fact the oldest airline in the world. The innovative KLM has joined (air)forces with MassiveMusic to create the brand’s sonic identity. But how do you go about creating a sonic brand for an airline? We all know what an airplane sounds like, but of an airline? What exactly does an airline sound like?


The Challenge

KLM was missing an overarching and consistent sonic identity. Additionally, the airline was lacking brand awareness across the globe. In North America, for example, KLM was associated with a gospel radio station and not with the airline. So our objective was clear: Create a unique sonic identity for KLM that distinguishes the brand in the marketplace and leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that it is an airline. It had to be recognisable, but also had to represent the core values of KLM as well. 

The Approach

Our first task was to explore the 4 core brand values of KLM: Dutch, Open, Reliable and Inspirational. KLM proudly express the majestic feeling of their Dutch roots. They’re always approachable and personal with a friendly human touch. And as for longer than any other airline in the world, KLM has been getting you there and back, safely and on time. Lastly, for KLM a real journey is not just about moving – but about being moved.

Taking these 4 values, combined with sounds representing airline travel, we explored how they could be expressed through sound and music. This resulted in a classic composition, which hints at the Royal roots of KLM. 

Because KLM uses a variety of audio visual content across various touchpoints, we advised the brand to go with a customized logo strategy. This means that the KLM sonic logo would always be tailor made to suit the needs of each execution. But always the same melody.

"A real journey is not just about moving - it's about being moved."

The Rollout

To ensure that KLM would always have a consistent and recognizable sonic element we introduced them to the concept of watermarking. Watermarking is the subtle and seamless weaving of the KLM melody into the score of each film – a common practice in major motion scores.

But just the melody isn’t enough. Consistent use of the logo is the key to sonic branding success. Therefore we introduced KLM to the unique feature of the music bank - an online catalogue of ready to use music - watermarked and infused with the KLM sonic identity - instantly available for download and usage in whatever execution needed it.


"MassiveMusic has helped us create one sonic identity that has created consistency in our brand communications not only towards our customers but also internally." 
Natascha van Roode, KLM's Head of Global Marketing Communication

Happy Ending

To sum up:

- KLM now has its very own sonic logo based on its brand values.

- The logo is customizable for every touchpoint and every situation.

- The KLM employees are aware and empowered to make use of musical assets through the online music bank.


Now that’s what we call a happy ending!


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