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Why did we need to hook a new generation of music lovers into the Cyrus brand?

Cyrus Audio's SoundKey // Case Study // Product naming

In brief

Expertise and Services
Brand naming
Brand identity
Product design
Packaging design
Marketing planning
Kickstarter campaign management
Video production
Social Media management
Audio and Technology

Cyrus Soundkey - Brand Naming

It’s great when a new bit of audio kit comes along isn't it and even greater when we get to name it! We'd been working with the British specialist hi-fi manufacturers Cyrus Audio for over a year when this opportunity came along for the two of us to do something special together.

Once upon a time, there were two ways to listen to music. You could either go to a live performance or you could listen to a recording of that performance on your hi-fi at home. Today, there are countless ways to consume music, but sadly the number of people who appreciate the beauty of a well-crafted hi-fi system is in decline.

In an effort to appeal to a younger audience and get them excited about hi-fi again, Cyrus developed a revolutionary new inline DAC. This innovative new product takes the best elements of Cyrus's existing hi-fi products and distils them into a sleek, portable design that can be used with any music playback device. Whether you're streaming the latest hits from Spotify, or iTunes on your phone the Cyrus inline DAC will help you get the most out of your music.
Cyrus SoundKey Product naming by Peek Creative Limited

How we came up with the name

With an already in-depth understanding of the product, we turned our attention to our target audience, their habits, and the audio kit that they were into. The youth of today are constantly on the go so we felt that the name had to reflect this. It needed to be short, snappy and memorable - something that would stand out in a world of techy acronyms. We also wanted to keep the name within the Cyrus family and leverage the kudos of the hi-fi world.

The product was designed to hook a new audience into the brand and with time move the new audience onto the joys of proper hi-fi so pushing the Cyrus brand name with the new product was essential. This would help renew the enthusiasm for building your own stack to enjoy full no listening at home.

We took a good peek at other DACs in the market to see what the competition was up to and to make sure we didn't craft a brand name that was too similar to avoid any confusion and potential trademark issues.

When naming a product it’s important to identify the qualities along with the criteria to help frame the name. These included:

  • Awesome sound quality
  • Small and lightweight (around 16g)
  • Smooth sleek design
  • Robust aluminium casing
  • Extremely low current usage, conserving your phone’s battery life
  • Compatible with a wide range of audio formats, including MP3, AAC, and FLAC
  • And that it would handle High-Resolution audio files up to 24bit/96kHz.

We needed to encapsulate these qualities in the new brand and name along with the key marketing messages:

  • If you love listening to your music on the move via your phone then you would love one of these. 
  • You deserve the best sound quality from your phone.
  • Cyrus have poured their 30 years of audio expertise into this new high quality DAC and amplifier.
The fun began with our magic hat of methods to create a list of potential names. We focused on nouns as felt it would be good to actually name the product, rather than just describe it. We also wanted a name that would work as a verb as we felt this would make it more memorable.

After some intensive brainstorming (and a few late nights!) we whittled our list down to our favourites and presented them to the client. The decision was unanimous - Cyrus Soundkey. It’s simple, it's easy to say and it looks great on the product itself. The word ‘key’ also has connotations of portability and being able to take your music with you wherever you go - perfect for the target audience.

We wrapped up our messaging into a simple strapline ‘Unlock Better Sound’.
This encapsulates what the product does whilst also being a call to action for the potential customer.

With the name and strapline agreed, we set about designing the packaging. We wanted to create something that would stand out on the shelves and make people want to pick it up and find out more. The use of mono colour and clean lines reflect the simple, elegant design of the product itself.

The result is a product that looks and feels like a premium item, befitting of its Cyrus heritage. The sound quality is exceptional for such a small device and we're confident that it will help introduce a whole new audience to the world of high-quality audio.

Why we chose to use Kickstarter to launch the product

Whilst the initial product development of the Soundkey had been funded by Cyrus, getting the finished product to market quickly and ironing out the last kinks needed a cash injection. We believed that both of these objectives could be achieved by harnessing the power of a crowd-funded campaign and leveraging the audience that Cyrus already had.

The design of the product was pocket-sized and very tactile. It would fit on your keychain so you could carry it with you everywhere. It was small, sleek and very stylish. It also came in a range of funky colours! The Soundkey was an ideal Kickstarter.

Setting up a Kickstarter campaign is no small feat. There’s a lot of planning that goes into it, from figuring out how much money you need to raise to what kind of rewards you'll offer backers. We started by creating custom videos that showcased the features of the Soundkey and explained why we thought it was such an amazing product. We then set up our rewards tiers, making sure to offer something for everyone.

Part of the key to the Kickstarter campaign success was introducing the Soundkey to the die-hard Cyrus Audio hi-fi fans. They were the perfect target audience as they already knew and loved the Cyrus brand, so convincing them to back the product was just a case of getting the word out there. We used a mix of social media platforms, email marketing and even good old fashioned PR to generate interest and awareness.

The campaign went live and within the first 12 hours the initial funding target of £50,000 was smashed and the pledges kept rolling in with the final campaign reaching nearly double the original figure.
1,165 backers pledged £79,962.
Following on from the successful Kickstarter campaign the Cyrus Soundkey went into full production and has gone on to win a number of highly prestigious hi-fi awards becoming in the process one of the highest-selling headphone DACs available on the market today.

How we hooked a new generation of music lovers into the Cyrus brand

We knew that to hook a new generation of music lovers onto the Cyrus brand, we had to make some noise. And that's exactly what we did with the launch of our inline DAC- the Cyrus Soundkey. The focus of this campaign work was to introduce the Cyrus brand to a younger audience and hook them onto the brand to revitalise the enthusiasm for a bespoke hi-fi.

Using Kickstarter, social media, and the mainstream press, we generated a lot of hype around the Soundkey and got people talking about Cyrus again. It was a big success and we're already seeing a resurgence in interest in there main products. We can't wait to see what the future holds for Cyrus!

Cyrus SoundKey Kickstarter by Peek Creative Limited
Cyrus SoundKey Kickstarter by Peek Creative Limited
Cyrus SoundKey Kickstarter by Peek Creative Limited
Cyrus SoundKey Kickstarter - Thank you tweet - By Peek Creative Limited

Important Takeaways From This Project

  • Go where your audience is - The key to connecting with a new generation is to meet them where they're at. And right now, they're on their phones. So we created a series of short, engaging videos that show how to use our products to make the perfect Cyrus mix. We also released these videos on social media, where they quickly went viral. As a result, we've managed to introduce the Cyrus brand to a whole new generation of music lovers. And we couldn't be more excited about it.


  • Bring your own crowd - Crowdfunding is hard. There's no two ways about it. You have to be creative, engage with your potential backers and sell them on your project. And even then, there's no guarantee that you'll reach your goal. But Cyrus had a secret weapon: the existing customer base. We gave the campaign a boost by reaching out to our existing fans and asking them to back us. This had the effect of shooting us up to the front page of Kickstarter, where we gained even more visibility. Suddenly, we were getting pledges from all over the world, and the Cyrus Soundkey was well on its way to becoming a reality. So if you're thinking of crowdfunding your next project, remember: it doesn't hurt to have a few friends in high places.
“We were blown away by the immediate success of the campaign and couldn't have wished for a better result.”
Simon Freethy, Managing Director, Cyrus Audio

Some of the Tools and Techniques We Used


  • Naming is hard. Skills in linguistics, marketing, brand trends and naming approaches all need to be applied creatively to develop a name that resonates with the target audiences for your business, product or service. 

    • Brainstorming a list of emotive words and phrases
    • Play with different combinations of those words to create new names
    • Lexicon
    • Research
    • Due Diligence

Kickstarter Campaign

  • Campaign planning 
  • Pricing structure and reward design e.g. Pledge levels, VIP specials and Early Bird rewards. These all had different timeframes and price points to encourage engagement and participation in the campaign
  • Scriptwriting, filming and video production to promote the product and Kickstarter campaign
  • Pre-campaign press launch activities to the hi-fi press and to new media relevant to the target audience
  • Social media channel content production and management
  • Daily management of the campaign across all channels.
  • Marketing
Simon Freethy, Managing Director, Cyrus Audio

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