Brand Storytelling: 70,000 Years in the Making

Between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago Homo sapiens started telling stories.

In his bestselling book Sapiens author Yuval Harari says around 70,000 years ago, an inexplicable genetic mutation in the brains of Homo sapiens enabled our species to begin to think in a new way, communicating about things beyond basic survival. Harari says it was this “storytelling mutation” that separated us from the apes, and propelled humans to the top of the food chain.

What began as gossip and chit-chat – who was sleeping with who; who hates who; etc. – eventually gave way to complex narratives imagined by humans, that would serve as the foundation for human civilizations. The assertion is that the existence of shared ideas – religions, nations, financial systems, and corporations – is a direct byproduct of humans’ ability for “collective imagination.”

So, through that lens, is storytelling the vehicle for helping humans understand and rally around the common ideas that link us one to another? Or is it the story itself that connects us to each other? Because, what else is there really?


How Stories Catch On - Breaking it down:


a human dreams-up an idea/story and puts it out there;


the story gets the attention of other humans;