The term “swagger” is generally associated with style, confidence, sophistication, and togetherness. In this regard, SWAGGER® Magazine (which owns a trademark in Canada for the mark “swagger”), brands itself as the premier modern men’s luxury and lifestyle publication, and is the “go to resource for the ambitious, successful and influential gentlemen of today.” When editors at this magazine began noticing a new trend in social media searches for #swagger – apart from the typical results showing fast cars and expensive suits – they soon discovered that politics was a significant factor towards this shift. And at the center of this movement was United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In his first address to State department employees back in May 2018, Mr. Pompeo conveyed his desire of “getting back our swagger” in terms of the State’s affairs, policy-making decisions, and restoring diplomatic ties. Mr. Pompeo also launched an Instagram account and throughout various posts, used “swagger” hashtags, phrases like the “department of swagger,” and photos of him “fist-bumping” State department employees. In a recent post, Mr. Pompeo displayed four pictures – two of himself, as well as William Shakespeare and General George Patton – with the following message for his followers: “Shakespeare was the first to use ‘swagger.’ Gen. Patton had his swagger stick. At @statedept, we’ve got some #swagger too. It’s our confidence in America’s values.”
As a result of Mr. Pompeo’s attempt to penetrate pop culture by using “#swagger” when speaking in terms of diplomacy efforts advanced by the State, Swagger Magazine appears to be seizing the opportunity to expand its readership base. In referencing some of Mr. Pompeo’s colleagues’ attire at the State department, Swagger editor-in-chief Steven Branco thought that “they all seem to have an oversize suit going on,” and that the magazine would be “working on a story that will provide more direction on what to wear in the office.” In the meantime, Mr. Pompeo and his chief spokesperson, Heather Nauert, appear to be continuing their message of the United States Department of State being a “Department of Swagger [that] has hustle & heart,” as shown on a recent post on Twitter.