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Onyx featured in Advantages Magazine

Matt David, President of Onyx Worldwide, is interviewed in the June edition of Advantages Magazine.  The article, titled “Adversity to Advantage” features case studies in turning challenges into opportunities to foster relationships with clients.

Ensuring our clients are thrilled is our top priority, and doing whatever it takes to make that happen is the foundation for our continued success.

Onyx is featured on the second page of the article, under the heading “Make A Client Happy And The Money Follows”.

View Article

Onyx ‘Jazz In The Park’ Event

When:  Friday, June 26th at 6:30 PM
Where: Gabrielson Park Sausalito, CA 94965

Jazz Music, Puerto Rican Cuisine, Wine, & Friends.
After Dinner, we will walk to Bar Bocce to sip and relax.
Looking forward to seeing you!

*Children are welcome.
**Parking can be a challenge, so arrive as early as you like, or take Uber!


Matt David 415-577-9066


Congratulations Giants

Well, we can’t take credit for the first Championship. Onyx merely provided 5000 pounds of orange colored, confetti (in under 12 hours) so that the City and the team could enjoy a parade befitting of kings, with all the fixings!

And, we can’t take credit for the 2012 victory either, as the comeback kids probably didn’t hear our shouts and roars any loader than other fans.  Although they tasted our Champagne, drinking from Onyx’s custom branded World Series Champagne bottles that were popped a plenty – and given away as tokens of the special memory.

But now that the third Giants Championship trophy in 5 years has been raised, and 100’s of thousands of Onyx’s orange rally rags have again energized fans and propelled the team to victory, we must raise the question and point to the obvious! Since Onyx has worked with the Giants (for the last 6 years), the team has won 3 Championships, compared to zero in the 51 years prior.



West Coast Ports Logjam Coming To An End?

For months, almost nine months to be exact, the promotional products industry (along with other business involved with international trade) has experienced delays at West Coast ports. To briefly touch on the importance of these ports (29 in all), the West Coast ports are the United States’ gateway to China. The majority goods that come to the US from China enter somewhere along the West Coast.What used to be an easy clearing process has turned into a logistical nightmare. As the Logistics Manager here at Onyx, I am experiencing a 14 to 17 day delay on goods coming into port excluding customs inspections. Why can’t customs inspect the goods while they are waiting to be offloaded you ask? The answer is simple; the container ships are waiting out at sea, unable to come into port. The picture below will show you what I mean.

Negotiations have been ongoing since last summer between the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) and PMA (Pacific Maritime Association), with little progress. It took Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Federal Mediator Scot Beckenbaugh to get both sides to reach a tentative agreement this past weekend. If a tentative agreement had not been reached, both sides would have had to continue negotiations in Washington DC under the watch of President Obama and his administration.

Although both sides have only reached a tentative agreement, which is a great sign and shows tremendous progress, the ILWU and PMA are confident that they will be able to close the deal. If for some reason a deal is not reached and negotiations completely fail, President Obama could enact the Taft-Hartley act which would force the ILWU back to work. I personally do not see it coming to that, neither do most observers of the ILWU.

I hope to see a finalized deal coming soon and our ports returning to normal operations. Either way, rest assured that Onyx will be monitoring the situation closely and managing deliveries carefully.


How Many Touches Does It Take to Get A New Client?

When I started cold calling potential clients, I had already read that it may take as many as 7 touches to land a new account.  In my early years, this knowledge helped me to take rejection less personally. It gave me the confidence to keep calling and encouraged me to find creative reasons to call again.  It gave me the energy to show up with coffee or to hop aboard an airplane to introduce myself.  And, having considered the necessity of “multiple touches,” it also gave me hope, as I would pour over lists of opportunities that had yet to blossom.  Had I yet reached 7 touches?  Had I yet been turned down?

After 20 years in sales and marketing, I believe the number of touches it takes to land a new client is generally 2 more than most believe or want it to be, and in my industry, it is usually no fewer than 7. Most sales people stop short of having a new target tell them “NO,” and thus they are far less likely to close a sale before they give up.  It takes a lot to get someone’s attention, and then it takes additional, positive touches to convert them to a new client, as well.

Especially today, where it is hard to connect with prospects on the phone and where all of us are bombarded with digital messages and pitches, I not only believe it essential to “touch” prospects repeatedly, but I also believe it is generally more effective to use “multiple methods” to do so. In this regard, I now have years of case studies and experience using promotional giveaways effectively.

Branded giveaways can introduce a new brand logo or message; compel a passerby to learn more, watch a demo, or try a taste; create repeat touches when a gift is used repeatedly or shared; encourage a sign-up, etc.  As a part of a marketing strategy to touch prospects repeatedly, using promotional products is a powerful means to create memorable impressions and “touches” that will yield results.

For more on this topic, check out this blog by one of our partners, Greg Berardi, CEO of Blue Marlin Partners. Greg included me in this post and quoted nine others about what it takes to get a new client. A good read.

Blue Marlin Partners is a San Francisco-based marketing firm that specializes in PR, social media, content creation, website optimization and lead development.

Onyx, Connecting People To Your Brand.™

It is said that the 2 most important days in one’s life are: the day that you are born & the day that you discover your higher purpose.  And, as this relates to the life of Onyx (born February 14, 2001), you have to look no further than our tagline to find our higher purpose.

For a brand marketing company like Onyx, with a wide range of tools to help its clients promote themselves, our tagline provides clarity of purpose for our clients AND staff, as well as offers the raison d’etre to provide best-in-class service.  No matter if we are designing custom apparel, shipping branded merchandise to international events, delivering coupon code calendars to a client for giveaway, or manufacturing a creative “gift with purchase” item, we are passionate about helping our clients to deliver memorable connections.  We are “Connecting People To Your Brand,” and we are honored to provide this meaningful service.

So, THANK YOU for choosing to be a part of the Onyx family.  We heart you, too. We wake up with the passion to be connected to you & to support you.  And, after 13 years, we are still proud to be “Connecting People To Your Brand.”

Twelve Years Later. So what’s in our name??

Let’s celebrate! Great things come in dozens; donuts, golf balls, eggs, 12-packs of beer. And for a dozen years, it’s been our great pleasure to work with blue chip clients that would be the envy of any promotional branding company.

Onyx was founded in February 2001, and years later, our company name and brand identity still speak to the multi-faceted services that we provide with passion. Resting in its most natural state, as a chalcedony buried underground, Onyx’s absorptive properties are said to draw from the earth “that which is really needed,” which is exactly how we work with our clients.

As consultants, we first listen to our clients’ needs. Next, the best from our manufacturers and designers is shared, to provide “that which is really needed” and suggestions, ideas, and solutions are offered to “connect people to your brand.” Finally, with approval, the highest quality promotional products, marketing collateral, and/or design solutions are created & distributed to yield an optimal end result.

So what’s in a name?

With over 70 years of experience, our proven company formula is to provide “best in class” service, resources, and results. So, our answer is: what we put into it & what YOU take from it!

Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to serve you over the years, and here’s to twelve more…


The Top 6 Things I Learned at the Gamification Summit

I wanted to call this article, “What I Learned on My Summer Vacation” because when I sat down to write it, it felt a little bit like our elementary school experiences where each fall, we would share what we did over the summer. But instead, I picked a more literal title about what I learned at the 2012 Gamification Summit.

As a little bit of background, Onyx has been interested in the emerging subject of gamification for the past couple of years. If you are new to the subject of gamifcation, Wikipedia defines gamification as, “The use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts.” To me, this definition is a bit obtuse. Gabe Zichermann, a leading expert on gamification said in a presentation to Google that “gamification is the process of using game thinking and mechanics to engage audiences and solve problems.” Personally, I like Gabe’s definition better because as marketers, we want to engage our audiences (whether they be consumers, employees, members of a group, etc.) and motivate them to change behavior (e.g., buy a product, learn a new skill, perform their job safely).

As part of our expanding development in gamification, I recently attended the 2012 Gamification Summit in San Francisco. Two full days jammed packed with 50+ sessions, attended by 650+ participants from more than 12 countries. Speakers representing corporate heavyweights such as AT&T, Adobe, eBay, Google, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Oracle,, Telemundo United Airlines, and Zynga and dozens more from companies that are not as widely known including BigDoor, Bunchball, Klout, Mozilla, NextJump, Spigit and others. For two days in June, the center of the gamification universe was in San Francisco.

After reviewing my notes, percolating my thoughts and distilling my conclusions, here are the top six things I came away with.

  1. Don’t be intimidated by the term “gamification”. Game mechanics, to some degree, have been in play for many years. Points, tiers, leveling up, and rewards are all marketing elements that have been used in programs such as airline mileage and frequent shopper for some time. JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist at provided anecdotal evidence that when words like “wiki” and “google” were first brought to the mainstream, they were met with resistance and skepticism. Get past the word and the sooner the better. Several speakers even brought up the idea that the term might go out of use in a few years because gamification elements will be so mainstream, that people won’t feel the need to use a separate term for it. Remember in the early days of the web, we always included “http://” when telling someone the URL for a site?
  2. Don’t sit in the starting gate waiting to perfect every nuance of your program before launching. Once you have MVP (minimum viable product) and feel confident about the overall structure of your gamification program, hit the launch button. Then analyze your data, listen to the feedback and adjust as necessary. If it takes you more than 90 days in the development stage, that is too long.
  3. Be authentic, give people what they want and reward those who contribute to the community. The Grammy award winning rapper Chamillion aire defied the conventional thinking of his record label. He used gamification techniques to listen to his fans, he engaged them with meaningful and relevant content – what they wanted to hear, not necessary what he wanted to tell them – and he rewarded the members of his community that participated and helped spread the word through sharing and re-tweeting. Is he successful? Chamillionaire has more than 506,000 Facebook Likes, 875,000+ Twitter followers and more than 23 million video views. To put these numbers in perspective, I checked on how many Facebook Likes some of the leading consumer brands have compared to Camillionaire. Crest has 171,000 Likes, Dial soap has 196,000 and Skippy Peanut Butter has 297,000 Likes. Maybe these leading consumer brands should take a page from Chamillionaire’s playbook.
  4. “If you build it, they will come” does not apply here. Adding gamification elements to your online presence doesn’t guarantee participation and success by itself. You have to actively market and recruit people to join the game, even in a work-based environment.
  5. Beware of the “Fun Pirates”. I wish I could take credit for this term. But I have to give credit to James Gardner from Spigit. Fun Pirates are the detractors, the nay-sayers, the corporate NIMBY’s. We’ve all confronted them at some point in our careers. Gamification is not laboratory theory. There are real world results that prove that it works and works well. You have to figure out if you are going to win over, go around or run over your Fun Pirates. To each, his own…
  6. Have a plan in place to deal with the “bad apples”. Two things you can count on in every situation. First, cheating happens; a segment of your community will try to “game the game”. Second, some members of the community will become unhappy for one reason or another. And for both of these scenarios, you must have a plan in place from the beginning on how to deal with these people, especially today when people have the ability to take their complaints to the world at large through social media.

So that’s it. My top six takeaways from the 2012 Gamification Summit. The list could have easily been 10 or 12 things covering subjects like leaderboards, intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards, onboarding, user motivations and on and on. Trust me when I say it was hard to focus on six key points distilled from 50+ speakers. Gamification is a fascinating subject that we are excited about. How can gamification be applied to your marketing programs and help you engage your audience? Let’s talk.

© John Oda


Well, Sports Fans, This was a fun one…

After an SOS call received from The Giants at 4:30pm yesterday, Onyx “made and delivered” the confetti for The Giants parade held today in San Francisco. With just 14 hours notice of the “missing component” for a parade befitting the World Champions, Onyx made it happen!

After striking out with emergency calls to several local confetti suppliers, Onyx created and executed a plan to make the confetti ourselves. We enlisted a commercial shredding company, tracked and procured raw materials prior to the stores’ 9pm closing time, and finished shredding & bagging 2,000 lbs of orange and white paper at 4:30am this morning. We delivered a full truckload of 150 bags of orange and white confetti to AT&T Park at 6:30am for the parade!

This video shows proof of delivery 🙂 SF celebrates Giants with victory parade

I have also attached 3 images of the Giant’s World Series Parade from the SF Gate newspaper, images of several team members shredding the confetti, and me clowning around just a smidge…

We love a challenge! We are committed to our business partners!
And, of course, we are HUGE GIANTS FANS!!


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