Back in the early 2000’s, there was a well-worn way of doing public relations. You’d go to your trusty Bacon’s, a huge book of media sources, to create a targeted list of reporters. Then you’d craft a press release in safe, generic corporate-speak. Your client would give the press scripted quotes. They got the media coverage they coveted, while still controlling the entire message.

The rise of the Internet caused a sea change in journalism, public relations, and marketing. Enthusiasm for social media swept the country. Social media requires that brands take risks, show some vulnerability, admit mistakes, and sometimes even court controversy. This is all counter intuitive for old school PR practitioners whose professional training has made them risk-averse.

At When + How, we believe our industry has reached at a tipping point.

The lines between marketing and public relations are increasingly blurred. Whether we call it earned, owned, shared — marketing has taken over social media with PR as a subset. Even the name of our profession has changed. Now, we use terms like influencer marketing, media management, or corporate communications.

But whatever we choose to call our services, the name of the game is speed.That’s why here at When + How, we have built our business model around the science of timing.

Meet Adele Cehrs

The "who" behind When + How is corporate communications expert, social media maven, author, marketing pundit, and keynote speaker Adele Cehrs.

While her roots are in journalism (she started her career as an intern with George magazine) Adele made the move to public relations two decades ago, working for national firms based in New York and Washington DC. In 2008, she decided to start her own company, Epic PR.

As CEO of Epic, Adele worked with clients as diverse as Lockheed Martin and the American Society of Associations Executives. She has managed some major corporate crises and overseen the development of numerous award-winning local and national marketing campaigns. Her firm sparked the cupcake trend across America with their successful launch and promotion of Georgetown Cupcake (the one with the show on TLC).

A recognized authority in the public relations field, Adele is a regular contributor and crisis communications expert for the Wall Street Journal’s Crisis of the Week Column. As a timing expert, she is frequently quoted in publications like, Forbes, PR Week and the Washington Post. In April of 2018, Adele earned the designation of “Business Wonder Woman” from the Washington Business Journal.

In the past year, Cehrs has interviewed more than 100 Chief Marketing Officers from Fortune 500 companies. The insights she has gleaned from these interviews, and her own take on where her industry is going inspired Adele to reinvent and rebrand EPIC PR as When + How.

As a public speaker, Adele has twice been invited to conduct workshops at the UN. Most recently, she went to Puerto Rico after the hurricane to provide crisis communications training for local marketers. She is the author of SPIKE Your Brand ROI: How to Maximize Reputation and Get Results. She is currently working on her second book.

In her spare time, Adele enjoys cooking, swimming and watching classic films with her husband Erik, and being with her son Christian and daughter Sienna.


According to, we are exposed to more than 5,000 brand messages each day. Marketers call this “creating engagement," and each comment, share, or re-tweet is supposed to be a win. But is this deluge of content really working to shift perception, change behavior, or sell products?

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