The Problem:

Position a new subsidiary
Build some marketing into the name

Whitepages is a company with a lot of phone numbers. Billions of them, in fact. They are constantly sifting through all these numbers to figure out, on any given day, which ones are real and which ones are being used for spam.

What do they do with this information? Help people like us make informed decisions about whether or not to answer an incoming call. Is it political? Is it someone pretending to be the IRS? Or is it your doctor’s office? When Whitepages came to us, they were making deals with some major smartphone makers and carriers to integrate Whitepages spam protection into their products.

The company decided that their caller ID services were big and distinct enough to spin them out as a standalone business and brand. They asked A Hundred Monkeys to position this new entity and find a short name that had some built-in marketing.


The Fix:

Convey how people really communicate
Find a friendly and helpful name

It helped that this was a start-from-scratch situation. We didn’t have to worry about the existing brand equity for Whitepages. The only thing that mattered was connecting with the consumer and not getting in the way. Our phones are our companions as we travel through life. We are always looking at them, using them, thinking how cool and annoying they can be at the same time.

We were naming a product that did something small and simple to help people many times a day. We wanted the name to connect to people instead of technology. Maybe to say something about the low level kinds of harmonic signals that carry us through our day, that say “I hear you,” “We’re in this together,” “Everything is okay.”


The name we landed on was Hiya. It was important to us that it is an informal greeting — actually a contraction of “How are you?” or “How are ya?” But you generally would not say it to a stranger. So it conveys the idea of safety and comfort, that you are communicating with someone in your inner circle. And it is blessedly short, which helps when it owns a smidgen of real estate on a tiny screen.


More you say?