KLM Sonic Branding

Speaker: Michiel Cremers
Client: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Agency: MassiveMusic – The Netherlands


Abstract (Description by MassiveMusic)

Over the last few months we have helped KLM to shape their brand identity by translating their heritage and brand-values into music and a sonic logo. Through the 9-step process of sonic branding we shaped a sound that is distinct, implies its basic values, and helps communicate the brand in an effective way. The aim was to bring more consistency in KLM’s use of music, to tell its heritage and make sure people know it’s an airliner.

The essence of the sound was captured in the KLM brand score, which was a medley of different musical styles that were composed to translate the brand values. The styles correspond to the various ends the music might be used for, and are partially based on KLM’s partnerships with artists and promoters. From the brand score a sonic logo was then extracted. The 4 note sonic logo has become the essence of KLM’s new sound.

In the process of finding the right elements subjects like: instrumentation, musical intervals and tempo were explored. Where some aspects didn’t prove valuable – like when we explored typical dutch instruments like the ‘Foekepot’ (friction drum), turned out to be rather cartoonesque. Other aspects like a distinct first interval of the melody – which was derived from the Dutch national anthem (het Wilhelmus) – did work. The end result is a sonic logo that implies values like ‘safety’, has a human touch, and symbolizes a flight (take off – flight – landing). We presented the sonic logo and brand score during an audio mood board session to KLM at nightclub trouw in Amsterdam with a live orchestra, a DJ and a singer.

From now on the sonic logo will be an essential part of their corporate identity, and will be implemented for many uses online and offline. To facilitate KLM’s the use of the sound logo and its various interpretations we created a customized logo strategy – which allows them to use the sonic logo and translate it into longer musical scores – as well as a dedicated online music bank (sound library) where all compositions containing the sound logo are stored and ready to use.

Time period of realization






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