Pinnacle Award Finalist Bob Koch: ‘As a Leader, be a Motivator’

Bob Koch, Raytheon Technologies

The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Pinnacle Awards were announced Oct. 8, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place virtually Nov. 12.

Next is Bob Koch, vice president of global enterprise communications at Raytheon Technologies. Here, he talks accomplishments, shaping future leadership and other business advice.

What key achievements did you have in 2019/2020?

In 2019, one of the focus areas for the former Raytheon Co. was software transformation. The company set a goal of using commercial technologies and best practices to stay ahead of competitors and better meet customer demand for new capabilities.

This shift, critical to the future success of the business, altered how we recruit and retain talent, develop new partnerships with Silicon Valley companies and engage with our customers.

To help drive the messaging for this initiative among key stakeholders, my team and I developed an integrated marketing and communications campaign to position Raytheon as a leader in this field and to help transform our internal software development culture.

The campaign featured a new web landing page; infographics; videos; public relations; advertising in key trades, newsletters and social media; and customized content experiences in The Washington Post. Results included 60 million unique visitors per month for earned media; three industry awards for the use of DevOps in the Air Force’s Air Operations Center program; 1+ million organic and paid social media impressions; and over 31,000 unique page views on website product pages and feature stories.

Our team’s focus on the front end of the business also directly aided our business development team with winning a strategic space pursuit.

In 2020, the team and I led major internal and external marketing and communications programs to support the largest merger in the aerospace and defense industry, all in the middle of a pandemic. These efforts included development and distribution of 12 change management guides to educate 195,000 employees on the mission, values and operations of the new company; the establishment of a hypercare rapid response system, which addressed over 700 employee questions in the first month; the integration of agencies and vendors to reach an identified synergy savings target in the multiple millions of dollars; and a multifaceted brand campaign for the new Raytheon Technologies.

Going forward, our plan is to expand the Raytheon Technologies campaign in the Washington, D.C., market and in high-priority international markets.

What has made you successful in your current role?

This past year has been year of major change for my company and my career. I was appointed vice president of global enterprise communications, reporting to the chief communications officer, for the new $74 billion Raytheon Technologies upon the close of the merger between United Technologies Corp. and Raytheon Co. in April 2020. Previously, I served as vice president of communications for the former Raytheon Intelligence, Information & Services, headquartered in Dulles, Virginia.

In my current role, I am using my experience in business and corporate marketing and communications to lead cross-enterprise initiatives and major brand campaigns that affect Raytheon Technologies and its four businesses, Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

My experience also has taught me the integral role of communications in facilitating change management and integration following a merger or strategic acquisition. The impact of the pandemic to the marketplace and our operations only added to the complexity of communicating effectively during an ever-changing environment for our diverse stakeholders.

I was able to draw on my background during a previous period of major defense industry consolidation to provide strategic direction in marketing and communications to help internal stakeholders realize the opportunities of the combined company and to demonstrate value to our customers and other stakeholders.

How do you help shape the next generation of government leaders/industry leaders?

I enjoy working directly with an extended team, fostering careers and mentoring people through experiences accomplishing big things. Government contractors — and all companies — can achieve more and grow faster when they harness the talents, ideas and contributions from diverse teams. That’s why I often invite marketing communicators from across the company to work with me on important branding initiatives, whether they are focused in our businesses or at corporate communications.

Examples of major campaigns where I have led teams from across the enterprise include space, software modernization, airspace management and cyber in 2019 and our new Raytheon Technologies campaign in 2020.

Looking back at your career, what are you most proud of?

To catapult the former Raytheon Co.’s thought leadership in cybersecurity, my PR team and I accelerated our rapid response program over the past couple of years, providing unique, impactful commentary from the cybersecurity business line’s subject matter experts to relevant breaking news in a high-speed manner that differentiated Raytheon from other cyber companies.

We surpassed our goals by engaging in 29 total rapid response campaigns over the course of a year. These initiatives, 19 of those resulted in impactful media coverage in top-tier business and cybersecurity trade press, produced over 740 million impressions, surpassing our goal of 500 million.

What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?

  • Be willing to move around the organization. I’ve had five different positions since I joined Raytheon Co. 11 years ago.
  • Focus on the front end of the business — this means supporting and often leading business development in a new pursuit and campaign.
  • As a leader, be a motivator, bringing out the best in everyone on your team.
  • Have an open-door management style, and trust in the professionalism, diversity and ability of your teams.
  • Don’t worry about who gets the credit. Let your team members shine, and give them opportunities to move up and around the company. Nurturing talent in this way will only feed it back into the broader organization.

This is how you maintain the respect of your teams and help your organization succeed.

Meet the other Pinnacle Awards finalists here.

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