Kent Grayson
Kent Grayson

Associate Professor of Marketing
Bernice and Leonard Lavin Professorship

Print Overview

As part of the Kellogg Markets & Customers Initiative (KMCI), Kent is the faculty director and co-founder of The Trust Project at Northwestern, a digital platform designed to provide different perspectives on the concept of trust as well as highlight the connections between these perspectives. (He Tweets about trust @KentGrayson.) Kent is also the co-organizer and co-founder of the Chicago Consumer Culture Community (C4), which hosts discussions among consumer researchers whose work is influenced by theories from sociology, anthropology, communications studies, and cultural studies. 

Kent teaches marketing management to MBA and executive audiences. For executive audiences, he frequently focuses on market segmentation and targeting issues. In 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 he earned the Chairs' Core Teaching Award in marketing at Kellogg. He was a finalist for Kellogg professor of the year in 2010.  

Over the past fifteen years, Kent has worked on marketing issues with several consumer goods and services companies, including British Airways, Diageo, Electronic Arts, Exxon/Mobil, Hilton International, Microsoft, Nestle, Nissan, TD Bank, and Sony. He has also worked on business-to-business marketing issues with Rockwell Automation, Herman Miller, and John Deere.

In the 1980s, Kent spent four years working in advertising (including two years at a division of Saatchi & Saatchi), during which time he focused on financial services, recruitment advertising, and high-tech accounts.

Kent researches the role of fabrication and fact in consumption. His research looks at such topics as the benefits and drawbacks of trusting a business partner, how consumers decide whether something is authentic or fake, and what happens when a "true" friend tries to sell you something. In a related research area, Kent studies direct selling, which is sometimes known as "pyramid selling" or "network marketing."

Kent joined Kellogg in September, 2002. For eight years before that, he was on the marketing faculty at London Business School.

Areas of Expertise
Brand Management
Consumer Behavior
Trust and Deception

Print Vita
PhD, 1994, Marketing, Northwestern University
MA, 1986, Communication Studies, University of Michigan
BA, 1984, English, Communication, University of Michigan, Distinction, High Honors

Academic Positions
Associate Professor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2002-present
Associate Professor, London Business School, 2000-2002
Assistant Professor, London Business School, 1995-2000
Instructor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 1994-1995

Honors and Awards
Chair's Core Course Teaching Award
Chair's Core Course Teaching Award
Chairs' Core Course Teaching Award, Kellogg School of Management, 2011-2012, 2009-2010, 2007-2008, 2005-2006, 2003-2004

Editorial Positions
Associate Editor, Journal of Consumer Research, 2010-2014
Editorial Review Board, Journal of Consumer Research, 2000-2010

Print Research
Research Interests

Trust and deception in market exchange, authentic and counterfeit products, truth and fraud in advertising and marketing

Isaac, Mathew and Kent Grayson. 2017. Beyond Skepticism: Can Accessing Persuasion Knowledge Bolster Credibility?. Journal of Consumer Research. 43(6): 895-912.
Isaac, Mathew, Aaron Brough and Kent Grayson. 2016. Is Top 10 Better Than Top 9? The Role of Expectations in Consumer Response to Imprecise Rank Claims. Journal of Marketing Research. 53: 338-353.
Tumbat, Gülnur and Kent Grayson. 2016. Authority Relinquishment in Agency Relationships. Journal of Marketing. 80: 42-59.
Ruiz, Dirk, D. Jain and Kent Grayson. 2012. Subproblem Decomposition: An Exploratory Research Method for Effective Incremental New Product Development. Journal of Product Innovation Management. 29(3): 385-401.
Grayson, Kent, Devon Johnson and Der-Fa Chen. 2008. Is Firm Trust Essential In A Trusted Environment? How Trust in the Business Context Influences Customers. Journal of Marketing Research. 45(2): 241-256.
Grayson, Kent. 2007. Friendship versus Business in Marketing Relationships. Journal of Marketing. 71(4): 121-139.
Johnson, Devon and Kent Grayson. 2005. Cognitive and Affective Trust in Service Relationships. Journal of Business Research. 58(4): 500-507.
Grayson, Kent and Radan Martinec. 2004. Consumer Perceptions of Iconicity and Indexicality and Their Influence on Assessments of Authentic Market Offerings. Journal of Consumer Research. 31(2): 296-312.
Grayson, Kent and David Shulman. 2000. Indexicality and the Verification Function of Irreplaceable Possessions. Journal of Consumer Research. 27(1): 17-30.
Grayson, Kent and Tim Ambler. 1999. The Dark Side of Long-Term Relationships in Marketing Services. Journal of Marketing Research. 36(1): 132-141.
Coughlan, Anne and Kent Grayson. 1998. Network Marketing Organizations: Compensation Plans, Retail Network Growth, and Profitability. International Journal of Research in Marketing. 15(5): 401-426.
Grayson, Kent. 1998. Customer Responses to Emotional Labor in Discrete and Relational Service Exchanges. International Journal of Service Industry Management. 9(2): 126-154.
Deighton, John and Kent Grayson. 1995. Marketing and Seduction: Building Exchange Relationships By Managing Social Consensus. Journal of Consumer Research. 21(4): 660-676.
Iacobucci, Dawn, Amy Ostrom and Kent Grayson. 1995. Distinguishing Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction: The Voice of the Customer. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 4(3): 277-303.
Iacobucci, Dawn, Kent Grayson and Amy Ostrom. 1994. Customer Satisfaction Fables. Sloan Management Review. 35(4): 93-96.
Book Chapters
Grayson, Kent. 2018. "Shopping With Charles Peirce: From Sign Meaning To Sign Degeneracy in the Marketplace." In Canonical Authors in Consumption Theory, edited by Søren Askegaard, Benoît Heilbrunn, London, UK: Routledge.
Grayson, Kent and Matteo Corciolani. 2015. "Authenticity." In The Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies, edited by Daniel Cook and J. Michael Ryan, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
Grayson, Kent and Devon Johnson. 2015. "Marketplace Trust." In The Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies, edited by Daniel Cook and J. Michael Ryan, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
Tybout, Alice M. and Kent Grayson. 2010. "Identifying Market Segments and Selecting Targets." In Kellogg on Marketing, 2nd ed., edited by Alice M. Tybout and Bobby J. Calder, 26-55. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Grayson, Kent. 2000. "Counterfeit Brands: Fooling Others or Fooling Ourselves." In Brand New, edited by Jane Pavitt, 98-101. London: V&A Press.
Grayson, Kent and David Shulman. 2000. "Impression Management and Services Marketing." In Handbook of Servies Marketing and Management, edited by Dawn Lacobucci & Teresa Swartz, 51-68. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Johnson, Devon and Kent Grayson. 2000. "Sources and Dimensions of Trust in Service Relationships." In Handbook of Services Marketing and Management, edited by Dawn Iacobucci and Teresa Swartz, 357-370. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Grayson, Kent. 2000. "Why Do We Buy Counterfeits?." In Brand New, edited by Jane Pavitt, 98-101. Princeton University Press.
Grayson, Kent and Svetlana Kirillova. 1999. "Monitoring the Market Misleaders." In Financial Times Mastering Marketing, edited by Financial Times, London, UK: Financial Times.
Grayson, Kent. 1999. "The Opportunities and Dangers of Playful Consumption." In Consumer Value: A Framework for Analysis and Research, edited by Morris B. Holbrook, 105-125. London, UK: Routledge.
Grayson, Kent and Richard Berry. 1999. "The Strategic Advantages of Direct Selling." In Financial Times Mastering Marketing, edited by Financial Times, London, UK: Financial Times.
Grayson, Kent. 1998. "Commercial Activity at Home: The Private Servicescape." In Servicescapes: The Concept of Place in Contemporary Markets, edited by John F. Sherry Jr., Chicago, IL: NTC Business Books.
Grayson, Kent. 1998. "The Icons of Consumer Research: Using Signs to Represent Consumers' Reality." In Representing Consumers, edited by Barbara Stern, 27-43. New York, NY: Routledge.
Grayson, Kent. 1996. "Examining the Embedded Markets of Network Marketing." In Networks In Marketing, edited by Dawn Iacobucci, Thousand Oaks: CA: Sage.
Iacobucci, Dawn, Kent Grayson and Amy Ostrom. 1994. "The Calculus of Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction: Theoretical and Empirical Differentiation and Integration." In Advances in Services Marketing and Management: Research and Practice, edited by Teresa A Swartz, David E Bowen, and Stephen W Brown, vol. 3, 1-67. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Grayson, Kent. "A Comparative Study of Retail Workers, Franchise Managers and Direct Sellers." September.
Grayson, Kent. 2000. A Comparative Study of Attitudes and Practices of Retail Workers, Franchise Managers, and Direct Sellers in Germany and the United Kingdom. London, UK: London Business School.
Grayson, Kent and Tim Ambler. 1996. Value for Money? The Relationships between Marketing Expenditure and Business Performance in the UK Financial Services Industry. Berkshire, UK: The Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Grayson, Kent and Sachin Waikar. 2012. Gaming the Gamers: Using Experience Maps to Develop Revenue-Generating Insights. Case 5-212-250 (KEL675).
Grayson, Kent, Eric Leiserson and Sachin Waikar. 2009. Fiserv Takes on the E-Billing Market: How Can We Get Them to Turn Off Paper?. Case 5-309-506 (KEL487).
Sawhney, Mohanbir and Kent Grayson. 2009. Ontela PicDeck (B): Customer Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning. Case 5-309-505(B) (KEL451).
Grayson, Kent and Sachin Waikar. 2011. Sony Targets Laptop Consumers in China: Segment Global or Local?. Case 5-311-500 (KEL614).
Grayson, Kent and Elliot Freeman. 2013. Royal Reels: Enhancing the Customer Experience for Slot Machines and Beyond. Case 5-312-507 (KEL723).
Sawhney, Mohanbir and Kent Grayson. 2009. Ontela PicDeck (A): Customer Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning. Case 5-309-505(A) (KEL450).

Print Teaching
Teaching Interests

Market segmentation, marketing management, brand management

Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
Marketing Management (MKTG-430-0)
This course takes an analytical approach to the study of marketing problems of business firms and other types of organizations. Attention focuses on the influence of the marketplace and the marketing environment on marketing decision making; the determination of the organization's products, prices, channels and communication strategies; and the organization's system for planning and controlling its marketing effort.

Research (MKTG-590-0)
Independent investigation of selected problems pertaining to thesis or dissertation. May be repeated for credit.

Executive Education
Business Marketing Strategy

If your business is B2B, here is a rare opportunity to learn from the experts how to boost your marketing strategy and analytics skills, deepen your understanding of marketing dynamics and build a customer value model unique to your marketplace.

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