“Storytelling” has become a buzzword in boardrooms of late–the term has come to refer to a branding strategy as companies seek to use compelling narratives to captivate consumers. But before it became an overused bit of business jargon, storytelling was the job of authors, poets, playwrights, and not brands. History’s greatest storytellers are visualized in this timeline infographic by culture site Raconteur, which based on its survey of nearly 500 authors, journalists, students, and media professionals.
Respondents’ votes for world’s greatest storyteller span from the bards and messiahs of ancient times (Homer, Rumi, Jesus) to present-day bestselling authors (J.K. Rowling, Haruki Murakami, Steig Larson). There are a few poetic musicians scattered throughout (Morrissey, Johnny Cash). Even Buffy’s creator, Joss Whedon, gets a shoutout. Not surprisingly, William Shakespeare garnered the most votes, and the five runners-up were fiction writers, all of whom wrote a great deal of fantasy: J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, Charles Dickens, and Stephen King.
If brands really want to captivate consumers, maybe they should consider including more ghosts, witches, and monsters in their marketing stories.