Saving this article for later... I realized today that if I'm bookmarking a ton of articles for future reference, why not bookmark them here? Then I can share what I learned and also have an easy way to review the articles.
I think this is a nice summary/overview by Upwork on how to help a client find their brand style if they do not have a brand style guide.
Creating personas/ identifying the target audience and the identifying the emotions/ feeling that you want the website to create is so important.
The one thing I'd add to the list of things to ask from the client is actual live website examples that they love (or hate) along with a sentence or two about why they like or dislike those websites for their brand.