324 – The Sufferfest : A masterclass in how to create a kick-ass brand with ex-Swiss banker David McQuillen

324 – The Sufferfest : A masterclass in how to create a kick-ass brand with ex-Swiss banker David McQuillen

Today’s episode is a masterclass in successful brand building. Ex-Swiss banker David McQuillen, is the founder of Sufferfest and CSO (that’s Chief Suffering Officer) of the mythical country … Sufferlandria.

Bored with conventional ways to get fit on a bike, David taught himself how to edit video, and after negotiating rights with major cycling races (like the Tour de France!), he created his first Sufferfest training video and inflicted it on the world.

And the world responded very favourably. So much so that he took it down as quickly as he put it up! You’ll find out why shortly.

He then had his confidence boosted after being called an assassin, and a sadist, and realising his true calling was to spread agony and misery, David quit his well-paying career, and escaped the cubicle to focus fulltime on building Sufferfest.

It’s now a multi-million dollar brand run out of his home in Tasmania.

Now do not fear, this isn’t an episode for middle aged men in lycra! Uh-uh, I think you’re gunna love this, as we uncover:

  1. The importance of creativity in building a brand people love
  2. How to build a tribe of long-term, loyal customers
  3. The importance of an authentic brand language
  4. Why humour is important in your marketing messages
  5. A secret social media strategy … that doesn’t involve you!

Plus I share some feedback from a motivated listener who sent me a letter typed on a 1952 Remington typewriter. Love a bit of old school marketing.

Let’s do this!




02:03  Welcome & overview
03:38  Today’s guest introduction – David McQuillen of Sufferfest
05:53  Interview with David McQuillen of Sufferfest
38:06 Insights in to WebCentral & Designcrowd
40:24  My top 3 attention grabbers from my chat with David McQuillen of Sufferfest
42:56  Listener feedback who’s testing a referall marketing idea shared on a past episode
48:08  Wrap-up and insights in to next week’s guest



WebCentral – Exclusive listener offers
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The official The Sufferfest website
The official Sufferelandria website
Interview with Vinomofo re challenging your category
Interview with Orange Sky Laundry re brand language
Buy Timbo’s new marketing book The Boomerang Effect





  1. Brand Language – Take a good hard look at how you speak to your precious prospects and customers. In fact, take a look at how your whole industry speaks to them. Is there an opportunity to engage with them in a more authentic way? Maybe you could start by giving them a name. Remember the guys at Orange Sky Laundry – they call their customers their homeless friends. You’re my motivated small business owners. And David has his suffer-landrians. What do you call your clients?
  2. Brand extensions – Look for additional ways to sell more. David has videos, camps & tours, merchandise, license arrangements with gyms, downloadable PDFs. What can you add to your business?
  3. Tribe-led social media – This one is genius. The idea of seeing your raving fans create Facebook groups, Forums and other social channels to talk about YOUR business! How cool is that! Now  whilst this is not something you can overtly instigate, it IS a result of building a tribe of long-term, loyal followers. If anyone wants to start a Small Business Big Marketing discussion group, I’d love to hear from you.




What was your biggest marketing learning or ah-ha moment from this episode?

Leave your comment below.

My guest and I respond to each and every comment.

4 thoughts on “324 – The Sufferfest : A masterclass in how to create a kick-ass brand with ex-Swiss banker David McQuillen”

  1. Great show Timbo, I absolutely love what David is creating. Although I am not a cyclist I felt an urge to become part of the crowd! I wanted to share in the suffering and join in. I felt compelled to share the website link with all my cycling friends.

    I also love the fact that there is plenty of humour and tongue in cheek fun, and it’s so very niche. The whole concept really links in to the idea of engaging all the physical senses of your customers. Good on you David. May you continue feeling the burn!

  2. Me too, Justin. I’m no cyclist, but now I’m pushing David to start a Sufferfest gym in my home town! Donning the lycra freaks me out a little!

  3. Danny Thompson

    Loved this episode!! This is something I would love to create at the Music Factory… righ now I have customers.. I want a TRIBE!!!!!

  4. Danny Thompson

    I loved the episode with Sufferfest founder!! Amazing stuff!
    I am signing up to their website.. I raced bikes in a former life and want to get going again…

    I have always struggled with getting my customers to be a tribe. That would be the difference in my Music School doing well, which we are, to doing incredible!! I just feel like I have customers.. Not a tribe…

    I just don;t know where to start…How to get that level of engagement and buy in from my people..
    Is it easier with some types of businesses than others? Im sure it is.. But I feel like we should be able to do it with music lessons…

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