KLM to refresh interiors following Landor brand work

Dutch airline KLM is to refresh its cabin interiors and passenger experience, following brand repositioning by Landor Associates.

Interiors inspired by Landor’s recent branding are to be installed across a new fleet by the end of 2010, according to KLM director of communications and corporate identity Frank Houban.

The brand positioning created by Landor is being implemented across KLM’s passenger experience and product line – expected to include seats, meals and inflight entertainment.

‘This is a client who really believes in the power of the brand,’ says Landor London executive creative director Peter Knapp. While other companies are tightening their belts, he says, KLM is continuing to invest in its brand.

The airline is working with suppliers on various aspects of the brand programme, though it declines to reveal details.

‘As an airline there are lots of suppliers working on the implementation,’ says former director of communications and corporate identity Fatima da Gloria-de Sousa, who worked on the project until December 2008, when Houban took over.

The airline, which merged with Air France in 2004, is also working on an overhaul of its digital channels in line with the brand positioning. It has already introduced SMS check-ins in the past fortnight, says Houban.

The company is working to create an online experience based around ‘journeys of inspiration’. ‘It’s not enough [just] to offer a ticket. You have to have more of an experience on the website,’ Houban adds.

Landor has been working with KLM on the project since 2007, following recommendation from sister WPP group Consult Brand Strategy, which works with KLM on a regular basis. Landor, da Gloria-de Sousa says, was chosen because of its ability to bridge the gap between brand strategy and strategic brand design.

‘In The Netherlands, we never have brand strategy and strategic brand design combined. It means being able to advise on a wider area of expertise,’ says da Gloria-de Sousa.

‘Landor gave us a very clear view of where we should be heading, by envisioning things rather than putting them into words,’ she adds.

So far, Landor has tweaked the visual language of KLM under a new positioning that aims to reinforce its Dutch heritage with a strapline, ‘refreshingly genuine’. A new photographic style, refreshed colour palette, lettering and typography, and a redesigned inflight magazine (pictured) have gone some way to setting a benchmark for the implementation across a wider range of consumer touchpoints, says da Gloria-de Sousa.

The ‘evolutionary’ brand programme for KLM has so far included a redesign of its airport lounges, the final one of which was completed last month.

KLM background

• A mutually agreed merger in 2004 between Air France and Netherlands-based KLM created the Air France-KLM group

• Air France-KLM serves 255 destinations in 115 countries across four continents

• 2009 marks KLM’s 90th anniversary

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