Some things just deserve a spotlight. A Twitter friend — @9inchmarketing (John, IRL) – reminded me of this reality a few weeks ago when he introduced me to the Purple Goldfish Project. This is an organized effort to draw attention to the existence of Lagniappes (the practice of giving something extra) in the course of everyday business. Herein is one such tale.

I met Bob Magruder more moons ago than either of us care to admit. Chances are, you know him, too; or you know his voice, at least. For more than three decades he’s been the “voice” of local, regional and national advertising campaigns, as well as the authoritative persuader on promotional, instructional and training videos. You can sample some of his work here.

I was an inexperienced ad guy. He was a pro. From the outset it was clear that Bob employed an approach to his business that set him apart. His “customer is the boss” perspective was surprisingly rare among commercial talent the agency worked with.  And he always showed up prepared, wanting to give more than was expected to make every project better; but that is not the story.

Bob’s lagniappe is found in the significant something extra he did – and continues to do for colleagues, apprentices and out-right competitors.

Yes…even competitors. For years I watched as one of the busiest and most talented guys in the highly competitive and often cut throat “voice acting” business would invest in teaching aspiring talent how to take work away from him!

To be fair, he did sell his instruction from time to time; but, for years I’ve watched him give time and often even foot the bill to help scores of folks trying to make it in the business.

Now, this isn’t a conventional lagniappe.  I don’t remember ever hearing him talk about why he did this. For that matter, he never talked about doing it at all. When he reads this he’ll wonder what the fuss is about, becasue this was not a strategy or tactical approach. It is born of who he really is, and what he believes in: give clients more than is expected; and give back to an industry that supports you.

In recent months, while reading, thinking, and writing about the growing impact of social media, I’ve been reminded of Bob’s style. He would talk with anyone, share ideas, wonder about trends, and always welcome a conversation. But it never felt like strategizing. It was, in my view at least, the natural response of a guy that enjoyed conversation and collaboration, was always willing to listen, and from whom you would always get more than you paid for.

A Lennon-McCartney tune on the “Let It Be” album captures what Bob taught me (and hundreds of others). It is what the Purple Goldfish Project is all about. It is social media’s hidden muscle. “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Magruder reminds me that nothing is more powerful than sharing with someone. This is the heart and soul of social media.