Caden Ackerman ’21 has always loved designing, building and inventing. As a high school student, he started his own woodworking company, building and selling custom shelves while devouring every business-related book or podcast he could find. By the time he arrived at Le Moyne in the fall of 2018, it was clear that he was going to forge his own path in the professional world. A marketing major in the Madden School of Business, Ackerman applied the lessons he learned in the classroom to grow his business. He stretched his creative muscles, ran ideas by his faculty members and peers, and challenged himself to think in new and innovative ways. It was a period marked by tremendous growth for the Cazenovia, N.Y., native. And as time passed and new opportunities presented themselves to him, he realized that his true passion lay not in woodworking, but in storytelling and helping others to realize their professional ambitions.
That’s when Keep on Adapting was born.
A full-service marketing firm, Keep on Adapting uses tools like social media, videography and still photography to help small businesses connect with potential and current customers so that those organizations can continue to grow, evolve and, as the name makes clear, adapt. The work is a natural fit for Ackerman. He has always loved storytelling. When he was a child, he wouldn’t just watch movies like Star Wars. He’d dissect them, asking himself why the filmmakers made the decisions they did, whether it was capturing an actor’s face up close or using a particular piece of music in a scene. It didn’t take him long to realize that those devices were used to invite the audience to feel something authentic. Ackerman takes the same approach in his work on behalf of his clients at Keep on Adapting, knowing that authenticity is key to establishing the trust upon which relationships are built.
That is especially true in an era in which people are regularly bombarded by messages competing for their attention. Since Keep on Adapting was founded in 2020, it has helped businesses reach tens of millions of people organically and managed hundreds of thousands of followers on a number of social media platforms. The company’s work spans a variety of industries, including construction, hospitality and landscaping. Ackerman ensures that his marketing reflects the values and histories of the companies he serves, many of which are family owned and operated. He is particularly proud of the Keep on Adapting’s ability to pivot and to work with a variety of platforms, from Facebook and Instagram to Youtube and TIk Tok. (It’s hard to imagine what could be next, Ackerman acknowledges. Virtual reality, perhaps?)
“I am proud of the work we are doing, and it’s exciting to think of what’s ahead,” he says. “A lot of times in business you hear: ‘I can’t do this, This is too hard. I don’t have the resources or capability’ But the most important thing is to keep moving forward, to keep growing, and to keep telling your story. I am honored that people trust us to help them do just that.”
Ackerman came in second place in the 2021 Dolphin Tank, Le Moyne College’s take on the business reality television series “Shark Tank.” He used the proceeds to help grow Keep on Adapting.