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The sound of a city: MassiveMusic launches brand new sonic identity for the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai

New and original sonic brand created using the real sounds of the city of Dubai.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai, one of the most rapidly evolving public transport systems in the world, has implemented a brand-new audio strategy across its network created by international creative music agency, MassiveMusic. The work also recently won Silver at the Transform Awards MEA for ‘Best use of audio brand.’

The journeys that passengers make have the potential to deliver far more meaning beyond simply getting them from A to B. Brands now recognise that they need to connect with customers and create an experience that resonates and evokes personality, trust and consistency.

RTA wanted to develop a sound for its brand that reflected the organisation’s evolving network and position them as a world-leading service that symbolises the future of world city travel and experienced by approximately 1.6m daily journeys and 353,244 passengers.

MassiveMusic, who have developed sonic brands and audio strategies for global brands across industries, such as KLM, O2, Philips and the Premier League, were tasked with creating a sonic strategy to connect the city through sounds, unifying the brand across transport systems, such as the metro, tram, bus, taxi and water modes.

MassiveMusic looked to develop a distinct identity that would not simply ensure the sonic brand was consistent but reflected the efficiency of the network and the future-facing energy of the city. The result was 465 minutes of audio created and implemented across all the transport networks, including trains, taxis, buses, trams and boats, using the real sounds of the city which make up the sound of RTA and serving as an identity system for all communications. The campaign delivered an iconic sonic logo and brand theme which can be adapted for different marketing collateral and used as functional sounds incorporated into the very fabric of the RTA transport system.

The MassiveMusic team began by experiencing each transport system and they used high-tech recording equipment to register sounds that were synonymous with that particular system, as well as the sounds of the surrounding desert. These sounds were then mixed into samples, creating playable ‘instruments’, grouped into melodic, percussive and atmospheric sounds to create a palette for composers to work with. These consisted of actual sounds of Dubai’s transport systems, such as the closing doors of the metro train, the acceleration away from the platform, the hum of a boat engine, and even the wind of the surrounding desert.

Over the last twelve months, RTA has been implementing the sounds across its network and they can now be heard across all modes of the city’s transport.

Roscoe Williamson, Creative Strategy Director and Partner at MassiveMusic, comments, “We were thrilled to work on a project of this scale, with a client whose ambition was to create a world-class sonic brand. An organisation such as RTA, which reaches so many people across the city, needs to have an identity that each of its customers recognises and is both modern and unique. With transport there are so many different sounds that we associate a type of vehicle or method to, and so this was crucial for us to consider during the project. We needed to not only know each of the transport systems well, but then how we could manipulate each unique sound and create something new that could truly resonate with travellers and give RTA a recognisable voice. The result is a modern sound, for a modern RTA, but imbued with all the actual sounds the RTA produces when it transports the people of Dubai across the city. We are proud to say it’s one of the best sonic brands MassiveMusic has produced in its 20-year history.”

Rowdah Al Mehrizi, Director, Marketing and Corporate Communications at RTA comments, “MassiveMusic delivered a world-class sonic brand by combining rigorous research with highly original creativity. We are really thrilled the RTA’s sonic brand won Silver at the Transform Awards MEA in the category ‘Best use of audio brand.’ The idea of visiting the city and recording our five modes of transportation and turning those sounds into virtual instruments was inspirational. It meant that the sonic logo and brand theme not only truly represented RTA, but were also completely unique. The sonic brand has become an integral part of RTA’s identity, rendering RTA the first government entity in UAE to have a sonic brand.”