Below is our recent interview with Andreas Souvaliotis, CEO of Carrot Rewards:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Carrot Rewards?
A: Think of Carrot as the new-age advertising platform for wellness! We, as a society, used to put up billboards on the street telling people to quit smoking, or we ran TV ads asking our fellow citizens to manage their money more responsibly. With the free Carrot app, we just harness Canadians’ collective love for popular, everyday points rewards and we get a lot more people to pay a lot more attention to much more targeted, relevant wellness content. The evidence is already overwhelmingly crisp: this new form of public persuasion works! Many more people change their behaviours in a much more measurable way and it actually costs a lot less per person to do it this way.
Q: How exactly does your app work? Can you walk us through the process?
A: The Carrot Rewards app is exactly that — an app that rewards you for downloading it and for using it. Our not-so-secret sauce is that we don’t actually give our users “Carrot points” — we offer them the choice of whatever points they already love (Aeroplan miles, Scene points, Petro points, RBC Rewards etc). Canadians get invited by their favourite loyalty points program to download our app and earn extra points from it all the time. They start earning right away, just for downloading it; then they earn more points for referring their friends, and many more points after that as they consume content on the app (typically participating in quizzes or watching videos) and for becoming more physically active every day. It’s an app that nobody ever deletes from their phones, because it’s like the gift that keeps on giving — why would you ever delete it or ignore it, when you know it will never stop offering you more of your favourite points?
Q: You’ve recently celebrated your million-user milestone by launching Carrot Plus; could you tell us something more?
A: Think of Carrot Plus as premium motivation fuel for your physical fitness. By upgrading to it, you simply multiply the rewards you can earn each day by achieving your step goal. The larger incentive and the tiny bit of “skin in the game” makes our Carrot Plus users even more active — we have seen a dramatic increase in the step goal attainment rates among them. Users can choose to upgrade to a version that offers them 2x, 5x or even 10x the daily reward points. And even more special features are coming soon.
Q: What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
A: Carrot has been so successful in this country because of its uniquely positive approach to promoting wellness — the carrot vs stick principle. We don’t guilt, punish, embarrass or annoy people into living better lives — we nudge them and we attach popular, recognizable, meaningful (tiny) rewards to every single nudge. I always knew this would work, because I’ve watched it work for decades in retail settings; rewards have always influenced the way we all behave as consumers, the way we choose retailers, airlines, banks or credit cards — so why not apply the same proven principles to the critically important area of public wellness? Instead of continuing to bombard people with advertising and guilt, why not nudge and reward them on the way to wellness.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Much more Carrot, in many more places! We will continue to deploy this platform across many more positive policy areas — not just promoting physical health, but also mental health, environmental responsibility, financial wellness, civic engagement and so much more. The positive policy possibilities alone are endless. We will work with everyone — Government agencies, NGOs, even the myriad of private sector players who want or need to promote responsible behaviours among their customers. And we will quickly take this powerful idea to many other countries — first stop: the United Kingdom, where Carrot will be launching very soon!