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Archive for December 9th, 2010

Charlton Heston Supporters Rally to Get His Image On a Stamp

Posted by Levine Communications Office on December 9, 2010

Actor’s former publicist organized Weds.’ Walk of Fame gathering, but ‘Ben Hur’ star isn’t eligible to adorn postage until 2013.

Supporters of an effort to get Charlton Heston‘s image on a U.S. Postal stamp gathered at the deceased actor’s star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame on Wednesday.

Heston’s former publicist Michael Levine organized the event, and he came armed with statements of support from Phoenix Pictures chairman and CEO Mike Medavoy, entertainment attorney Bruce Ramer and others.

“Heston was an iconic American actor known everywhere in the world as a friend and family man, patriotic and very giving to his community,” Medavoy said.

Heston, known as much for his conservative politcal activism as he is for epic roles in movies like Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments, died April 5, 2008 and isn’t eligible to adorn a stamp until 2013.

But supporters figure it’s not too early to start lobbying the Citizen Stamp Advisory Commission, especially given that it might be an uphill climb, given that Heston’s term of president of the National Rifle Association has made him a polarizing figure in some circles.

Like in Hollywood, for example.

Levine began his campaign to convince the powers-that-be that Heston is stamp-worthy in October. Since then, 1,600 people have signed his online petition.

Attending Wednesday’s Walk of Fame event was political commentator Bruce Herschensohn and actors Stephen Macht (General Hospital, Melrose Place) and Patrick Kilpatrick (Minority Report, Last Man Standing).

Other actors who already have their mugs on a stamp include John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Lucille Ball and Jimmy Stewart.

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Broken Windows, Broken Business

Posted by Levine Communications Office on December 9, 2010

The Broken Windows theory is a theory of criminology advanced in 1982 by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. The theory noted that if you went into a neighborhood and saw a broken window or graffiti or it was unclean, it would send a signal to people that the bad guys were in charge and then much worse crime would quickly ensue, explained Michael Levine, author of the 2005 book Broken Windows, Broken Business. It was the theory behind the transformation of New York City under Mayor Giuliani.

“I took that theory of criminology and I brought it over into business,” added Levine, who is also the founder of the Hollywood entertainment PR firm LCO. “For example, if you go on an airline and you pull that tray table down and you see a food stain on it, it sends a signal to your brain that perhaps the maintenance of the engines isn’t being done properly.” Levine recently discussed the book and its relevance five years after publication. What follows is an edited transcript.

Your book was critically acclaimed and remains a bestseller around the world. Why does the message of Broken Windows, Broken Business still resonate?

Because it’s still the little things that matter. The human brain has a logical side and an emotional side, and they’re constantly doing battle with each other all the time. And about 88 percent of the time, emotion wins. Except when humans are hungry, angry, lonely or tired; then emotion wins 100 percent of the time. Since Americans are increasingly hungry, angry, lonely and tired, I thought it was important to note that consumers make decisions largely based on little things — little, innocuous things that seemingly have no massive import but they do have a radically massive import to consumers.

And now we hear a lot about how businesses also need to treat their employees as customers.

Yes, that’s a very important point. Everyone who owns a business should know that you have external customers and you have internal customers. Your employees are your internal customers. That does not mean you should not hold them to a very high standard or accept mediocrity. But again, it’s the little things that matter: If the carpets at your company are stained, you’re sending a signal to the people who work for you that your best days are behind you.

So your book really has lessons for the human resources and operations functions of an organization. Does it also have relevance in the digital era of online interaction, where instant global communication can have an enormous impact on your business?

We’re living in a nation in which most people have everything they need except time and peace of mind. In that environment, convenience becomes king — making interactions with your business convenient for customers is vitally important. They don’t want to push buttons or wait 33 minutes on hold while they’re told “your business is very important to us”; they want to talk to a real person that speaks English in America.

Little details matter a lot. Now the good news is that you can fix those little details and it will have a tremendous impact. The bad news is that fixing them is a lot of hard work, and Americans in the early part of the 21st century don’t like hard work. That’s a challenge. We have to get back to the things that made us great in the first place. Otherwise, we’re going to get beat by our friends in India and China and the former Soviet Union. We used to be a hard working, enterprising, personally responsible nation. We’ve turned our back on many of those things, and we are paying the price.

It’s tough medicine. I’m still very concerned about America’s customer service approach because I think that often businesses say one thing and do another.

It’s a sobering message, but as you’ve said, there’s still hope the trend can be reversed.

Yes, business owners can reclaim their place in international markets. We know what to do. The things I said in the Broken Windows, Broken Business book are not brilliant. They’re just common sense: Pay attention to small details and treat your customers well.


Posted in LCO PR, Michael Levine, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Ronnie Chasen Update: Murder Has Been Solved

Posted by Levine Communications Office on December 9, 2010

Police have found in a recent investigation that 43-year-old Harold Smith was indeed connected to the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronnie Chasen. It was said by an anonymous caller that Smith even bragged to neighbors about making $10,000 to kill Chasen. This occurred before he shot himself last week before police came into his home with a warrant.

Beverly Hills police chief Dave Snowden announced on wednsday that tests showed that the gun and bullets Smith used matched the ones found in the crime scene. Although the some people speculate that it was a hit, Snowden stated that, ” We believe that Mr. Smith acted alone,” and “We don’t believe it was a professional hit.” He also believed that it was a robbery gone bad.

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