CONSTANTLY innovate, be open, know about trends and communicate with urban Australia.
These are parts of the equation that will be vital for the livestock export trade going forward, according to its leaders and other beef industry stalwarts.
Investing in relationships, and not only with people we're comfortable with but with regulators and animal welfare groups as well, would also need to be a key part of business, respected economist, policy strategist and former Meat & Livestock Australia boss Peter Barnard said.
"Above all, be confident and scrub the siege mentality from our minds," Dr Barnard told the industry's annual conference LIVEXchange last week.
The latest trade summary shows that cattle exports for 2019 have exceeded 900,000 head - up 18 per cent year-on-year. Sheep are at just over 760,000. The industry accounts for 8pc of the value of Australia's red meat production and it's now worth $1.8b - up $400,000 on last year.
Australian Livestock Exporters' Council CEO Mark Harvey-Sutton said the industry had the right to be confident.
"Where perceptions are concerned we have to really understand what the community is thinking," he said.
"We've been guilty of assuming what it is people think of us. We have to properly understand their concerns and build strategies off that over the next few years.
"And we need to adopt an attitude we are part of broader red meat industry."
Cattle Council of Australia director and WA producer Geoff Pearson agreed.
"We're all selling the one product - if we're not selling it in a glossy box we're selling it in a hide," he said.
"We are setting the benchmark for others to supply into the same markets.
"Animal welfare has been in every conversation and producers want to protect our industry. What is bringing us unstuck is the next level. They have to understand they are being watched and producers want a system to mitigate it."
John Cunnington, business development and marketing assessment manager with exporters Halleen, said it had been inspiring to see his company's staff go out to villages in Indonesia and train people about animal welfare. "They are changing culture as a reflection of our industry," he said.
Dr Barnard said so often the live-ex industry responds to criticism along a technical dimension.
"The main thing we have to communicate is that we care, we are listening and we are responding," he said.
Mr Cunnington: "Even if you're not active on social media, you're watching so we have to learn to have respectful conversations even when someone is attacking us."